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Condoleezza Rice's Ten Best musical works

Passionate without being sentimental...Condi Rice loves acid rock. Cream, anyway. That's kind of awesome, you've got to admit. Rice chose her "Ten Best Musical works" for an edition of The Independent, guest-edited by Bono. Half the revenue from the edition will be donated to the Global Fund to Fight Aids. "Believe it or not, I loved acid rock in college - and I still do."

A couple obvious cuts: "Respect" by Aretha - couldn't she find something deeper than that? Kool and the Gang's "Celebration"? Really? You're not as sick of that wedding standard as everyone else, Condi? Couldn't you have at least picked "Jungle Boogie"? No real surprise that she digs Elton John's lite-rock standard, "Rocket Man," I guess. But what a cop-out to select "anything" by U2: "Rice, a big fan, is happy to listen to any of their tunes." Weak!

The rest is all Mozart, Brahms, Beethoven and Mussorgsky. Yawn.

Full list after the jump...

1 Mozart - Piano Concerto in D minor

At the age of 15, Rice began piano classes - although she has played since she was three - with the intention of becoming a concert pianist. This concerto holds many memories for her: "I won my first piano competition at the age of 15, playing this work."

2 Cream - 'Sunshine of Your Love'

Cream - Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce - were one of the first of the great supergroups. Despite the fact that the band split up in 1968, Cream's fans are still going strong. "I love to work out to this song," says Rice. "Believe it or not, I loved acid rock in college - and I still do."

3 Aretha Franklin - 'Respect'

"The Queen of Soul's anthem", in Rice's opinion. Aretha Franklin is best known for her soul and R&B music, but is also skilled at jazz, rock, blues, pop, gospel and opera. The singer, known also as Lady Soul, has won 18 Grammys and earned the music world's unstinting respect.

4 Kool and the Gang - 'Celebration'

Released in 1980, "Celebration" was a No 1 hit for Kool and the Gang in the US, although it only made No 7 in the UK charts. Rice loves this upbeat track, saying: "It's just such a great song." Not so great was Kylie Minogue's 1991 cover version, which reached No 22 in the UK top 40.

5 Brahms - Piano Concerto No 2

This is considered one of the most difficult piano works to learn, but Rice isn't fazed. "It's a stormy, difficult piece, but I'm going to learn to play it before I leave this earth!" Premiered in 1881, the Second is unusual because it is in four movements instead of the usual three.

6 Brahms - Piano Quintet in F minor

This piece by Johannes Brahms is "passionate without being sentimental", Rice says. The work, composed in 1864, is the piece she most loves to play with her quintet. Like most piano quintets, it is written for piano and string quartet (two violins, viola and cello).

7 U2 - Anything

Founded in 1976, U2 have regularly topped the record charts since the late 1980s. The band have sold 130 million albums and had six No 1 albums in the US and nine in the UK. One of the most successful groups of all time. Rice, a big fan, is happy to listen to any of their tunes.

8 Elton John - 'Rocket Man'

This pop ballad was co-written by Bernie Taupin. It first appeared on John's 1972 album Honky Château and became a hit single. For Rice - and many children of the 1970s - this song is a blast from the past: "It brings back memories of college, friends, my first boyfriend."

9 Beethoven - Symphony No 7

"Quite simply the greatest symphony of all time," is how Rice describes Beethoven's Seventh. The work was written in 1811 and 1812 during what is known as the composer's middle period, at a time when Beethoven was struggling with his increasing deafness.

10 Mussorgsky - Boris Godunov

"The greatest opera of all time," Rice says. "If you love Russia, you have to love Godunov." The composer, Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky, was one of five Russian composers who became known as The Mighty Handful, and were the chief innovators of Russian music in the 19th century.

Excerpted from The Ten Best Musical works - chosen by Condoleezza Rice, US Secretary of State. Also of interest in Bono's edition of The Independent:

Bono: I am a witness. What can I do?
Live8 and Gleneagles - what did they achieve?
Can rock stars change the world?
Bob Geldof: Aid isn't the answer
Eddie Izzard
The Edge
American Life, by Elvis Costello


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Over at the national affairs desk, POLJUNK digs into Condoleezza Rice's "Ten Best musical works" that she chose for the Bono-edited edition of The Independent.... [Read More]


Wonder if her musical tastes will change when she becomes commissioner of the NFL . . .

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