Israel’s Defense Minister and former Prime Minister Ehud Barak announced earlier this week that he is quitting politics. A first-class pianist, music has always been his companion and on an earlier appearance on Mad About Music, he revealed to host Gilbert Kaplan:
— How playing Chopin calmed him before his first visit with Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat.
— Why during his campaign, that led to being Prime Minister, he pledged to restore the piano at the official residence.
— Coping with a neighbor who always called the police when he played piano late at night.
— The emotional impact of playing Beethoven over the telephone to his dying father.
— How he learned Scott Joplin’s “The Entertainer” in hiding preparing to lead a commando raid.
— How he discovered Mahler at age 40.
— The piano music he most wants to play.
Felix Mendelssohn: Bartholdy Lieder ohne Worte [Songs without Words]. Opus 30, No. 3. “Consolation.” Daniel Barenboim, piano. Deutsche Grammophon 5263727.
Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35. Second movement. Philadelphia Orchestra. Eugene Ormandy. Isaac Stern, violin. Sony SMK 66 829.
Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 23, “Appassionata.” Third movement. Murray Perahia, piano. CBS Records / Masterworks MK39344.
Scott Joplin: Piano Rags. “The Entertainer.” Joshua Rifkin, piano. Elektra / Nonesuch 9 79159-2.
Frédéric Chopin: Polonaise No. 1, Op. 40, “Military.” Artur Rubinstein, piano. RCA 09026-63048-2.
Johann Sebastian Bach/Charles Gounod: “Ave Maria.” Achinoam Nini (aka Noa). Geffen GEFD-24619.
Gustav Mahler Symphony: No. 8, “Symphony of a Thousand.” “Chorus Mysticus.” Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Vienna Boys’ Choir. Vienna State Opera Chorus. Vienna Singverein. Sir Georg Solti. Heather Harper, Lucia Popp & Arleen Auger, sopranos; Yvonne Minton & Helen Watts, contraltos; René Kollo, tenor; John Shirley-Quirk, baritone; Martti Talvela, bass. Musical Heritage Society 514500W.
P. Anka, C. François, J. Revaux, G. Thibault: “My Way.” Frank Sinatra. Reprise Records 9-26501-2.