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Baker's Dozen

Tour De France: Jonathan Meades Selects 13 Exercise Bike Classics
John Doran , March 6th, 2019 09:44

After a recent serious illness, writer and documentarian Jonathan Meades was prescribed 30 minutes a day on an exercise bike. He tells John Doran about his 13 favourite pieces of classical music to accompany his regimen


Brahms - Quintet 2

Two of the scant facts I know about Brahms are that he was perceived to be the opposite of Wagner and the second movement of his German Requiem is actually the theme music from Nazis: A Warning From History - maybe those two things are connected.

I listened to this quintet this morning. I have this most wonderful recording of it which was made in the Rock Church in Helsinki, this amazing, amazing church which was culled out of the rock in the 1960s. It makes explicit the link between brutalism and geological extravaganzas. In the pantheon I’d put Beethoven at the absolute top, followed by Schubert then Brahms. I don’t like Wagner, partially because I don’t like the music and partially because I don’t like anything about him as a person. He hated Mendelssohn’s music, purely on account of Mendelssohn being Jewish. There’s an incident, which is recounted in the biography of Himmler in which he says, ‘I have grave doubts about Sturmbannführer so-and-so because he listens to Mendelssohn.’ You know… Jewish music. I’ve never been able to sit through anything by Wagner. It’s no good; that bit with the helicopters in Apocalypse Now! notwithstanding.