I organise a classical music group in Cupar U3A. The group currently has 26 members and has been going for about 10 years. Yesterday we resumed after our summer break with a session called ‘Politicians’ Choice’.
In this time of turbulent politics, we thought it might be interesting to explore a more congenial side of our political leaders.
We wrote to 33 prominent politicians from across the political spectrum and asked them to recommend a piece of classical music for one of our fortnightly sessions, to be called ‘Politicians’ Choice’.
Our list was designed to reflect as best we could the current parliamentary balance, and we were pleased to receive 23 replies – 5 Conservative, 7 Labour, 2 Liberal Democrat, 5 SNP, 1 Green, 2 DUP and one Independent.
It was nice to think that, when their minds were no doubt preoccupied with a certain topic beginning with the letter B, they took a moment to think about something a bit more positive.
Then on the day of our session, 3rd September, all the replies were put in a hat and those drawn out were the ones whose choices we heard. It was a good session, and it was very interesting to see who chose what.
The responses included Ed Miliband who chose ‘Piano Concerto 3’ by Rachmaninov, Nicola Sturgeon who chose The Four Seasons by Vivaldi, Ken Clarke who chose ‘Now’s The Time’ by Charlie Parker, Rory Stewart who chose ‘Die Forelle’ by Schubert, amongst many others.
The sessions went very well. It was different to our usual programme and people found it very interesting as a result.
For those who are interested, here is the full list of politicians and their chosen music:
Hilary Benn (Lab.) The Lark Ascending (Vaughan Williams)
Mhairi Black (SNP) Stranger on the Shore (Acker Bilk)
Ian Blackford (SNP) The Four Seasons Vivaldi
Sir Graham Brady (Con.) Symphony 8 (Mahler)
Sir Vince Cable (Lib. Dem.) Requiem (Mozart)
Ken Clarke (Con.) Now’s the Time (Charlie Parker)
Ruth Davidson (Con.) Non Nobis Domine (Patrick Doyle)
Nigel Dodds (DUP) ‘New World’ Symphony (Dvorak)
Frank Field (Ind.) Haydn’s Late Quartets
David Gauke (Con.) Double Violin Concerto (Bach)
Stephen Gethins (SNP – our local MP) Ave Maria (Schubert)
Caroline Lucas (Green Party) Beethoven ‘Spring’ Sonata OR Schubert Impromptu Op. 90/2 OR Verdi Requiem (‘impossible to choose just one’)
John McDonnell (Lab.) Shostakovitch Symphony 9
Ed Miliband (Lab.) Piano Concerto 3 (Rachmaninov)
Ian Paisley (DUP) The Montagues and the Capulets from Romeo and Juliet (Prokofiev)
Angela Rayner (Lab.) For the Love of a Princess (James Horner)
Dennis Skinner (Lab.) Symphony 29 or 40 (Mozart)
Sir Keir Starmer (Lab.) ‘Emperor’ Concerto (Beethoven)
Rory Stewart (Con.) Die Forelle (Schubert)
Nicola Sturgeon (SNP) The Four Seasons, (Vivaldi)
John Swinney (SNP) Finlandia (Sibelius)
Joanne Swinson (Lib. Dem.) Palladio (Karl Jenkins)
Emily Thornberry (Lab.) – Der Rosenkavalier Overture OR Presentation of the Rose, OR Sibelius Symphony 5 47