Jack Norworth & Albert Von Tilzer “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” [excerpt]. Boston Pops Orchestra. Tanglewood Festival Chorus. Keith Lockhart. Arrangement by David Chase. Boston Pops BP0005.
Aaron Copland Rodeo “Hoedown.” London Symphony Orchestra. Aaron Copland. Sony SK 90403.
Johann Sebastian Bach Goldberg Variations, [excerpt]. Glenn Gould. CBS MYK 38479.
Ludwig van Beethoven Piano Sonata No. 21 “Waldstein Sonata.” First movement [excerpt]. Richard Goode. Nonesuch 79391-2.
Sergei Rachmaninoff Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, [excerpt]. The New York Philharmonic. Leonard Bernstein. Gary Graffman, piano. CBS Masterworks MYK 36722.
Bill Evans “Waltz for Debby,” [excerpt]. Bill Evans Trio: Bill Evans, piano; Scott LaFaro, bass; Paul Motian, drums. Original Jazz Classics 32326.
Franz Schubert String Quintet in C, [excerpt]. Bernard Greenhouse, cello. Guarneri Quartet: Arnold Steinhardt, violin; John Dalley, violin; Michael Tree, viola; David Soyer, cello. Philips 432 108-2.
GILBERT KAPLAN: Welcome back to “Mad About Music” with my guest, who until recently was the President of Major League Baseball, Robert DuPuy.
For years he was involved in all aspects of Major League Baseball, the organization that operates both the National and American leagues, most recently as President. Now he has returned to practicing law as a partner in Foley & Lardner, where he specializes in what else – sports; helping clients buy and sell their teams, build new stadiums and even negotiate TV rights. And through this, and his private life, music has always been at his side. Robert DuPuy, welcome to “Mad About Music.”
ROBERT DUPUY: Thank you for having me, Mr. Kaplan, it’s a real thrill.
KAPLAN: All right, well, we should begin with baseball and music. And let’s talk about this remarkable phenomenon called, “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” Always sung in the middle of the seventh inning, everybody stands, it’s over 100 years old. I learned curiously it’s been composed by two men who never had gone to a major league baseball game. I say phenomenon because it’s the third most frequently sung tune in America, apparently, just behind the National Anthem and “Happy Birthday.” More than 400 artists have recorded it, including Frank Sinatra. But I think it’s a good one to start with because you have your own personal connection to this particular tune, don’t you?
DUPUY: Well, we do. For the 100th anniversary of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” which is a classic like baseball or classical music and sort of timeless, we had a contest to see who could record the best version nationwide. And we did it starting in spring training, and through each of the parks, and at fanfests at the All-Star game, and then the playoffs, and then gave an award to the rendition that everyone thought was the best.
KAPLAN: How many people entered?
DUPUY: Something over 7,000.
KAPLAN: Well, let’s start the show then with just a little bit of the first refrain from “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”
KAPLAN: A refrain of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” performed by the Boston Pops and the Tanglewood Festival Choir, all under the baton of Keith Lockhart—the third most frequently performed song just behind the National Anthem and “Happy Birthday” in the United States, music that is very much suited to my guest today on “Mad About Music,” the former President of Major League Baseball, Robert DuPuy, now a partner in the law firm Foley & Lardner, specializing in the sports industry. All right, let’s stay with baseball for a moment. Is classical music at all popular with any of the players?
DUPUY: Oh, absolutely – with such a diverse, broad base of players worldwide all types of music are popular with players and obviously with the technology advancement and every player having an iPod or some form of music. While many of them are more devoted to popular music, there are a number of them who have been very active in classical music and have made appearances on behalf of local symphonies and arts groups over the years.
KAPLAN: The only one I know of that’s sort of been publicized is Bernie Williams, who was with the Yankees, and he is a trained classical guitarist. Can you think of any off-hand who are also in that league? And I wasn’t even thinking of performers, but just people who like it.
DUPUY: Curt Schilling is another name that comes to mind, the former Red Sox pitcher, and there have been others over the years. Pitchers are more susceptible to that as they try to concentrate and try to get into the mood and ready to pitch. Their choices of music often tend to be a little more cerebral and a little calmer than the everyday player who is trying to work up some adrenalin.
KAPLAN: All right. Now, what about owners? The late George Steinbrenner of the Yankees was an opera fan, I know, and he also played the piano. Did you ever listen to any music together with him or talk about music, the opera?
DUPUY: We did talk about music and he was very philanthropic in the Tampa area, as you know. And George had very broad taste as do many of the owners, and many have been enormous supporters, again, of their local orchestras and local arts groups.
KAPLAN: I see. Now, baseball shows up in other music. I think of one piece by William Schuman, which he set the poem “Casey at the Bat” to an opera. Have you ever heard that or seen it? I’m not sure it’s been performed very much, but are you aware of this piece?
DUPUY: I was aware of that piece. I believe it’s on a recording with New England Triptych, another one of Schuman’s pieces and have heard it. And of course, “Casey at the Bat” has been set to a number of musical pieces and musical compositions over the years.
KAPLAN: It’s a wonderful poem. All right, well, let’s return to your next selection which I see is Aaron Copland. One of his works, Fanfare for the Common Man, I believe has actually been performed sometimes in baseball stadiums, but that’s not the music you selected today.
DUPUY: No, I did not. I selected Rodeo. Back in 1972 when I was clerking in Chicago after my second year in law school when we were living in a little apartment at Burton and Clark. One Sunday night my wife, who was pregnant with our first child at the time, and I went to Grant Park for a concert and it was a beautiful night and Aaron Copland was there conducting his own music with the Grant Park Symphony, which was largely Chicago Symphony players during the summer. And he performed a program of all of his own works. He did the Fanfare for the Common Man, he did also El Salón México and he did Appalachian Spring and he did Rodeo and that concert now in 1972, 39 years ago, remains vivid in both of our memories. We talk about it often, it’s as if we, we went to it years ago, and more recently, talked about it again just a couple of years ago to our granddaughters and it really made an indelible impression and Rodeo itself is such a beautiful piece, and you can see why so many - it’s been set and choreographed to so many ballets, it’s such an inspiring piece of work.
KAPLAN: “Hoedown” from Copland’s Rodeo, the London Symphony Orchestra with the composer himself, Aaron Copland on the podium—music that brings back memories of encountering Copland conducting the work at an outdoor concert—memories for my guest today on “Mad About Music,” the former President of Major League Baseball, Robert DuPuy, and now a partner at the law firm Foley & Lardner specializing in the sports industry. Let’s talk about how you came to classical music. Did you study an instrument?
DUPUY: I did. Music has been an important part of my life for as long as I can remember. I remember being five or six years old and listening to a show on WELI in New Haven called “Jukebox Saturday Night” hosted by Carl Loucks. You know, that was pre-Elvis Presley, pre-Rock ‘n’ Roll, pre-Buddy Holly, it was Patti Page and Teresa Brewer, and The Platters. And I would make my mother move the radio into the bathroom when I took my Saturday night bath so I wouldn’t miss any of the show. And I started trumpet lessons when I was in third grade, and continued that all through high school, played in a marching band, played in dance bands, or swing bands as they were called then, did weddings and those types of things. Then studied French horn late in high school and played that through college as well in the Dartmouth Marching Band and the Dartmouth Symphony and when I went to Vietnam I had the trumpet shipped over there and played a little bit there as well. When I started with my career I sort of lost the ability and the time to study and I remember my wife and I were at a beautiful flute and guitar concert at the Pabst Theater in Milwaukee. Eugenia Zukerman was the flutist, and I commented at intermission that I should learn how to play the flute because I could travel with it and I missed performing for myself. And the next day she rented me a flute and got me lessons at the Wisconsin Conservatory. And so I did that for four or five years, but it was extraordinarily frustrating because my fingering and my embouchure didn’t match with my ability to read the music and comprehend the music. So we then saw Paquito D’Rivera perform at Birdland on a thing called a wind stick, which looks like a clarinet and is played through a synthesizer, and you blow and you don’t need to have embouchure and so I got myself one of those and taught myself how to play that and played that for a number of years. And now finally this past year I’ve now come full circle because for Christmas my wife gave me a Morrison Digital Trumpet, which looks like a trumpet, has a mouthpiece like a trumpet, has valves like a trumpet, plays like a trumpet, but you blow into it and again it plays through a synthesizer. And so I’m now back to my original love, which is the trumpet.
KAPLAN: So I guess in response to my question, “Did you ever study an instrument?” the answer is, “Yes.” You know, you mentioned playing the French horn in the Dartmouth Orchestra. Did you get to play the solos in any of the famous pieces for French horn, like the famous Tchaikovsky Fifth?
DUPUY: No, only on my own. I would play it on my own and practice it on my own, but never got to perform it.
KAPLAN: You know, another guest on the show, Howard Stringer, who is the CEO of Sony, he played the trumpet as a child, and actually played first trumpet in his school orchestra, but he said when he got a solo in Handel’s “The Trumpet Shall Sound,” he really flubbed it. Have you had any memories of a blooper because the French horn can make a lot of bloopers?
DUPUY: The French horn was very hard, but the biggest blooper was with the trumpet. I had a solo in a thing called “Jersey Bounce” at a show and one of the performances at the show I got up and flubbed it badly and I carry the emotional scars of it to this day.
KAPLAN: All right. Now before we went on the air, you told me that the first record you ever acquired was Bach’s Goldberg Variations and I see it’s next on your list.
DUPUY: Yes, that was the first classical album I had. It was back in 1956 and I was very proud of having it and basically played it over and over and over. And it’s a wonderful piece of music, as is all of Bach, and Glenn Gould’s interpretation, while controversial at the time, remains my favorite along with a more recent recording by Angela Hewitt, which I think is also wonderful. I think she is a fabulous Bach interpreter and I got to see her actually win the Toronto Bach Competition back in the mid-80s and so I have a special place in my heart for her as well.
KAPLAN: An excerpt from Bach’s Goldberg Variations, the famous Glenn Gould 1955 recording, the first classical music record acquired by my guest today on “Mad About Music,” the former President of Major League Baseball, Robert DuPuy, and now a partner at the law firm Foley & Lardner specializing in the sports industry. When we return we’ll explore the role music plays in Robert DuPuy’s life today.
KAPLAN: This is Gilbert Kaplan with my guest today on “Mad About Music,” best known as the former President of Major League Baseball, Robert DuPuy, and now with a mixed portfolio as a partner at the law firm Foley & Lardner and as a consultant to the investment arm of CAA, the Hollywood talent agency. The specialty of course: working with clients in the sports industry. All right let’s talk about music in your life today. How often do you get a chance to attend concerts or the opera?
DUPUY: I would say three or four times a month. Sometimes more frequently, sometimes a little less frequently, but we go as often as we can.
KAPLAN: And do you take subscriptions at all, or do you typically buy the concerts you want to go to, or the operas you want to go to, or?
DUPUY: We have had subscription to the New York Philharmonic, to some of the Carnegie Hall presenting artists series and visiting orchestra’s series as well, and we’ve had a Met subscription as well. Given the amount of travel that I’ve done we now find it’s easier to buy individual concerts. We attend Caramoor in Westchester County each summer and try to get up to Tanglewood at least one time each summer.
KAPLAN: I see. Now, as a lawyer, I assume you do a good deal of writing. I’m wondering whether you have music on in the background when you do this. And by way of contrast again with other guests on the show, we had the lawyer Alan Dershowitz on the show who said that he could not write briefs without having music on in the background, and he hopes his wife was out of the house so he could play Wagner very loud. What about you?
DUPUY: I would agree with Mr. Dershowitz. I find it distracting to have silence and music tends to stimulate, I think my mental juices and my creative juices, and allows me to write better. In fact, as you mentioned the portfolio, one of the things I’m also doing is teaching at Cornell’s Law School, and I’ve taught at law schools for a number of years. I taught at Northwestern and Wisconsin and Marquette back when I was practicing law in Wisconsin. And grading exams is one of the most difficult aspects of teaching and in some years I’d have as many as 75 exams to grade, and I always graded the exams to Beethoven’s piano sonatas - and in fact even more limited than that, to Richard Goode’s series of performances of Beethoven’s piano sonatas. I think his is a spectacular version of them. And every once in a while I would find myself distracted and listening just to the music and ignoring the written page, but for the most part it allowed, for some reason, the Beethoven allowed me to focus on the examination papers and to grade them and to get through them and it then became a superstition and so to this day I continue to grade to the sonatas. And of all of them my favorite is the “Waldstein,” and each of the movements I think is wonderful and I think his performance is unparalleled.
KAPLAN: An excerpt from the first movement of Beethoven’s “Waldstein” Sonata with Richard Goode at the piano—music that once served as a soundtrack for grading law school exams by my guest today on “Mad About Music,” the former President of Major League Baseball, Robert DuPuy, who now is a partner in the law firm Foley & Lardner specializing in the sports industry. Let’s talk about your musical tastes. You mentioned that you sometimes had had a subscription to the Metropolitan Opera, yet I noticed no opera on your list today.
DUPUY: No, I think perhaps because I played an instrument throughout school that instrumental music appealed to me a little bit more than vocal, but it isn’t as if I don’t enjoy. It was extraordinarily difficult to pare this down to five selections, there were so many wonderful pieces of music in every genre, and to try to just come up with five was extraordinarily difficult.
KAPLAN: All right. There’s another category missing: contemporary classical music. Do you resonate to that?
DUPUY: Absolutely. Again depending on what your definition is of contemporary. I had a partner in the law firm when we had a subscription to the Milwaukee Symphony and anything this side of Tchaikovsky to him was contemporary music. But certainly allot of 20th century music; the Shostakovich string quartets I think are wonderful and Philip Glass’s music, I think there are a number - John Cage - I think there are a number of contemporary composers whose works will hold up over the next three or four centuries, just as the Romantic and Classical and Baroque eras have held up.
KAPLAN: You know you just mentioned John Cage and with Cage I always think about his most controversial work, a piece called 4’ 33” consisting entirely of silence. I was about to ask you if you had ever heard the piece. Years later a British composer, Mike Batt created a work called “A one minute silence” and proclaimed that his work was superior to Cage’s because he was able to say in one minute what Cage required four minutes thirty-three seconds to say. Well, the Cage Trust was not amused and they sued Batt for plagiarism. The case was settled and never went to trial but I’m wondering if the Cage Trust had asked you your advice as a lawyer, what would you think about all this?
DUPUY: I think silence is in the public domain.
KAPLAN: All right. Well, your next selection actually by date is a 20th century work, but I wouldn’t say by style so much, and it’s Rachmaninoff.
DUPUY: Yes, the Graffman performance of Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini was again one of the records that I cherished and wore out. There were really three records after the - LPs, after the Gould that I carried with me everywhere I went: the Bernstein Rhapsody in Blue/An American in Paris and a performance of the Grieg and Schumann piano concertos on opposite sides of a record, and then the Graffman Rachmaninoff record. And I played it all through college and actually transferred it to an open reel tape and took it with me to Vietnam and it helped me get through that year as well. And so I thank Mr. Graffman for his performance and for providing me comfort during that time over there.
KAPLAN: The opening of Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini. The New York Philharmonic with pianist Gary Graffman led by Leonard Bernstein, music chosen by my guest today on “Mad About Music,” the former President of Major League Baseball, Robert DuPuy, who now is a partner at the law firm Foley & Lardner specializing in the sports industry. When we return we’ll hear Robert DuPuy’s wildcard, a work that is neither classical music nor opera.
KAPLAN: This is Gilbert Kaplan with my guest today on “Mad About Music,” best known as the former President of Major League Baseball, Robert DuPuy, and now with a mixed portfolio as a partner at the law firm Foley & Lardner and a consultant to the investment arm of CAA, the Hollywood talent agency. The specialty of course: working with clients in the sports industry. All right, we now come to that part of the show we call the “wildcard,” where you have a chance to pick some music, and you’re required to pick some music that’s neither classical music nor opera. It can be anything; it can be rock, jazz. In general I have found that the selection helps me understand our guest sometimes even better than the classical music. So, what did you bring us today?
DUPUY: A piece by Bill Evans, “Waltz for Debby.” This was probably the easiest of the selections. You know, people say as you get older you get set in your ways. I’d like to think it’s you begin to understand what you like and why you like it. And jazz piano and piano trio I have found just to be very high on my list of likes and I think I have virtually every recording that Evans ever made. He was such an enormous talent. I think he is under-appreciated for the work he did with Miles Davis for such a short period of time and in helping shape Davis and obviously his work on the Kind of Blue album. He’s had such an influence on the current generation, and even last generation, whether it be Chick Corea or Herbie Hancock or Keith Jarrett or Fred Hersch, Bill Charlap. My only regret is that I never got to see him perform live, even though I got to see each of his progeny that I just mentioned and to pick out the influences that he obviously had on them. The piece, “Waltz for Debby” is one of his own compositions and it shows both, I think, his lyrical style and his ability to swing. And clearly my favorite jazz musician: Bill Evans.
KAPLAN: An excerpt from Bill Evans’s “Waltz for Debby,” performed in this live recording by the Bill Evans Trio, the “wildcard” selection of my guest today on “Mad About Music,” the former President of Major League Baseball, Robert DuPuy. Now I understand that music runs in the family, in a managerial sense, that your wife for a while managed a chamber music institution. Now, have you ever been active as either a board member or a financial supporter of an orchestra, music school, opera house?
DUPUY: Yes, yes, yes. We both served as a president of the Milwaukee Chamber Music Society, which had its own chamber orchestra composed of members of the Milwaukee Symphony. I was a president for seven or eight years and then my wife took over as president of the organization before she went on to manage the Institute of Chamber Music at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee that had the Fine Arts Quartet in residence there as well. She’s currently on the board of the New York Choral Society and so we’ve been active with that organization as well, both in terms of financial support and their activities; and the Milwaukee Symphony and various other music groups over the years.
KAPLAN: Well, that’s good news to hear. Now you mentioned before that you played Beethoven when you’re correcting law school exams. Do you also turn to music for other occasions? For example, if you have to make a tough decision, do you want to have music on when you’re thinking about it? Again, I like to contrast earlier guests. We had the former Prime Minister of Australia, Paul Keating, on this show, and before he would “go into battle,” he said, with parliament in Australia, he would put on Wagner’s The Ride of the Walküre and picture them throwing lightning bolts and he would get himself up to go into battle. Do you do this?
DUPUY: Nothing quite as dramatic as that. But when I played hockey I tried to motivate myself through music going into that. Liszt’s Les Préludes was a particular favorite before we would do that. I do golf and find that humming something a little less strident than Liszt while walking down the fairways can help relax you and let you focus on your next shot.
KAPLAN: Now, if you came home one day, and you had really terrible day, or you learned some very bad news, would you ever turn to music for consolation?
DUPUY: Yes, I think under those circumstances my first choice would probably be Bach and my second choice would probably be Schubert.
KAPLAN: That’s interesting. We’re going to come to Schubert in a minute, I see on your list. Now, one last question before we come to that Schubert, your final selection. And, perhaps it’s a bit too personal, but I have learned on the show how many guests are eager to talk about the subject I’m about to bring up, and it is this: whether you have thought about what music you might want played at your funeral?
DUPUY: Well I have, and -
KAPLAN: See, that doesn’t surprise me.
DUPUY: And I think Satie’s Gymnopédies would be a piece that I would welcome and actually, my final selection, the Schubert Quintet, would be another piece – that either the first or second movement, that I think would really capture more of who I am than perhaps someone speaking words about me. And people, you know, listening to the music and absorbing the beauty of the music I think would be an incredible tribute.
KAPLAN: So, then let’s talk about that piece.
DUPUY: I think it’s the most beautiful piece of music ever written. I think each of the movements is a masterpiece in and of itself. And I also had a wonderful anecdote with regard to the piece and that was when my wife was managing the Institute of Chamber Music and the Fine Arts Quartet, they had a music festival in Fort Lauderdale and we went down there for three or four days, and the final performance was in fact the Schubert Quintet and Bernard Greenhouse had come in to perform with the quartet as the guest cellist. They rehearsed it on Saturday morning and we were at the rehearsal and after they got through with the first movement Wolfgang Laufer, who is the cellist in the Fine Arts Quartet, asked Mr. Greenhouse, he said he had heard him perform live several times and he had heard two recordings that Greenhouse had made of the piece and there was a section in the first movement where he had varied the tempo from performance to performance, and asked Mr. Greenhouse what it was that dictated the tempo in a particular performance. And you know, without batting an eyelash, Greenhouse winked at him and said, “the time of my flight,” which got the appropriate response I think from the quartet and they went on to do a masterful job performing it that evening.
KAPLAN: An excerpt from the first movement of Schubert’s String Quintet in C, the Guarneri Quartet together with cellist Bernard Greenhouse, the final selection of my guest today on “Mad About Music,” the former President of Major League Baseball, Robert DuPuy, and now a partner at the law firm Foley & Lardner specializing in, what else, sports. All right, as we head to the conclusion of the show, we come to a section I’ve labeled “fantasyland,” where our guests are able and in fact are all required to reveal their fantasies—musical fantasies. And in your case it’s going to be a very interesting answer because you’ve experienced so much in music, playing different instruments. And the question goes as follows: if you could be a superstar, in any aspect of music, would you like to be a tenor, would you like to be a composer, would you like to be a conductor, would you like to master one of those instruments you started out to play?
DUPUY: The latter. I would love to perform as a soloist, but a more realistic fantasy, I would very much have liked to have played in the pit orchestra for a Broadway musical, Finian’s Rainbow, or something with great tunes and great music, and watch the difference from day to day of the performances, or an opera orchestra would be terrific as well. But the day to day of a Broadway pit orchestra would have been a lot of fun.
KAPLAN: So not as a soloist?
DUPUY: Well, I mean I wouldn’t mind having been a soloist, but I never thought I could get to that level, much like my baseball talents or hockey talents, and so a more realistic goal would have been to play in a pit orchestra.
KAPLAN: All right. You are my first guest to sort of keep his fantasies within reason. Robert DuPuy, thank you for appearing today and sharing your music and the role it plays in your life. Great, fun show. This is Gilbert Kaplan for “Mad About Music.”
“Mad About Music”
Gilbert Kaplan, Executive Producer
Heidi Bryson, Producer
Marcela Silva, Associate Producer
Leszek Wojcik, Recording Engineer