Best-Selling Author Ken Follett's Musical Thrillers

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Ken Follett is the author of more than a dozen best-selling novels, including "Eye of the Needle," "The Pillars of the Earth" and most recently, "Winter of the World," which entered The New York Times’ bestseller list at No. 1. He is a passionate music lover and has played guitar for more than 40 years. In this reprised interview with Mad About Music host Gilbert Kaplan, he explains:

— Why Mozart is “probably the greatest man ever.”

— Why the tradition of a cappella singing is so emotionally powerful.

— The fun of singing Christmas carols with Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour and Douglas Adams, the author of "The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy."

— How several movie producers of his thrillers ignored his musical wishes for scores.

— That Handel’s Messiah was childhood “pop music.”


George Frideric Handel: Messiah [excerpt]. Academy and Chorus of St. Martin in the Fields. Sir Neville Marriner. Jerry Hadley, tenor. Philips 434 695-2.

Willie Dixon: “(I’m Your) Hoochie Coochie Man.” Ken Follett, vocals, bass, guitar. Oglio Records OGL 82001-2.

Ludwig van Beethoven: Für Elise. Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Sir Georg Solti. Vladimir Ashkenazy, piano. London 443 723-2.

Johann Sebastian Bach: Lute Suite No. 4, BWV 1006a [excerpt]. (Arr. John Williams). John Williams, guitar. CBS MK 42204.

Francis Poulenc: La Grenouillère. Felicity Lott, soprano; Pascal Rogé, piano. Decca 458 859-2.

John Lennon and Paul McCartney: “Because.” John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison (a cappella). Apple / Capitol CDP 7243 8 34451 2.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Concerto No. 3, K. 216. First movement. Vienna Philharmonic. Nikolaus Harnoncourt. Gidon Kremer, violin. Deutsche Grammophon 453 043-2.