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No sex, please. We’re listening to music.

Mad About Music, Gilbert Kaplan’s engaging interview show on WQXR is ten years old this Sunday and he’ll be looking back (9pm at at some of the hard statistics and celebrity power plays.

Here, for instance, are the stats: To date 97 guests selected 354 works by 118 composers. Most popular are:

1. Beethoven
2. Bach
3. Mozart
4. Mahler
5. Brahms
Most popular works:
1. Puccini: “Vissi d’arte” from Tosca
2. Bach: Goldberg Variations
3. Strauss: Four Last Songs
4. Beethoven: Ninth Symphony
5. TIE:  Mahler: Fifth & Ninth Symphonies and Mozart: Don Giovanni
And here’s one of MAM’s most important cultural recommendations:
For sex therapist Dr. Ruth [Westheimer], there should never be any background music on during sex. “I want everyone to concentrate on love-making. It also permits fantasies to be developed if you don’t have background music.”
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  1. Dr Ruth is an ardent and passionate music fan, often seen at Carnegie Hall orchestral concerts.
    It just goes to prove that even sex-therapists still have something to learn about sex.

    • William Safford says:

      I once sat next to her at a Met performance of Lulu. She loved it.

      • She was probably hoping that some audience members compelled to seek therapy, given the nature of the opera. The MET’s 3-act Lulu is in any case one of their greatest productions and has been since its premier.


  2. BTW, nice illustration, Norman.

  3. So I take it the list of popular works includes Hooterdammerung and Ariadne auf Knockers?

  4. bratschegirl says:

    I sincerely hope that the management of our local alleged “classical” radio station gives this list some serious thought!

  5. Richard Herger says:


  6. I am always disappointed by out of context and prematurely evaluated research-data. Questions should include whether sex was enhanced or diminished by the choice of music, or whether the subjects chose music for the purpose of getting things over quicker or making certain things last longer or even purely as something to listen to whilst thinking of England… this only scratches at the surface of a much deeper area of potential research that could suffer a closer look(,) by yourself, Norman? How should a composer write “fake here” in a score anyway?

  7. Laurence Glavin says:

    I’m very surprised, but at the same time delighted that R. Strauss’s “Four Last Songs” rated so highly. I would have guessed that not as many people are familar with the work, but WQXR’s audience is fairly sophisticated. Oh, and if I’m allowed to enter a sexually-tinged punning content with La Cieca: who was a rival of Beethoven in Vienna during the early 1800s? Johann Nipplemuk Hummer.

    • Be very careful about getting into a punning contest with La Cieca. She is formidable and fearsome.

  8. Uh, oh. Then I’ve got a serious problem because I can’t listen to smooth jazz without thinking about, uh, you know. YEARS of Pavlovian conditioning. And, pretty bold post. You rarely see nipples and Mahler in the same missives.

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