The blogosphere is abuzz with rumors that Mitt Romney is considering former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as his running mate. Leaving her politics aside — and her chances of being picked do seem slim — Rice would probably be the most musically educated candidate since Richard Nixon. She is an excellent pianist and her favorite composer is Brahms. As she explained in an interview with Denver University Today in 2010:
DU: I’d like to read you a quote from The New York Times. It’s from an interview with you. The quote is, “I love Brahms because Brahms is actually structured. And he’s passionate without being sentimental. I don’t like sentimental music, so I tend not to like Liszt, and I don’t actually much care for the Russian romantics Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff, where it’s all on the sleeve. With Brahms it’s restrained, and there’s a sense of tension that never resolves.” Do you still feel that way?
Rice: Oh absolutely. Johannes Brahms is by far my favorite composer. It is in part because he was a great classicist, but he was also pushing music toward the 20th century. Brahms died in 1897, he was only 64 years old, and I often wonder what it would have been like if Brahms had lived to be part of the explosion of atonal music and the new music of Schoenberg and Webern that come only a couple of decades later, less than two decades later. So I’m a great fan of Brahms as a classicist, the true heir to Bach and Beethoven, but also because his music is spectacularly beautiful, but not sentimental. I don’t like music that wears its emotions on its sleeve, and you’ll never find that with Brahms.
I’ve been aware of Rice’s musical tastes since at least 1998, when she took part in a Time Magazine Person of the Century panel and suggested she would pick Arnold Schoenberg. But Time Magazine let Philip Glass pick Stravinsky as the musical entry on the list.