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Have you ever ventured

Have you ever ventured out on a cruise? I have, because many years ago I used to host music festivals on cruises. I have done 15 cruises now, introducing various artists, string quartets, pianists and singers. I always enjoyed it and I used to look forward to it like a holiday. It was wonderful. I haven’t done a river cruise and that is something I would very much like to do because I have done three transatlantic crossings. The sail into New York is just something else, it really is. Stockholm is another really nice one and some of the Norwegian fjords are fantastic, but that sail into New York would be the one. I must say, the idea of going along the Rhine or the Danube is very appealing. What three things do you never travel without? I suppose a passport would be too obvious! So certainly a toothbrush. I do not have much use for a hairbrush these days, so that clears a space for something else. The second item is a sink plug. I always used to take one with me when I was playing in bands because you would invariably pitch up at the hotel and you would have a sink, but no sink plug. You had a choice between scalding yourself with boiling water or freezing yourself with icy water. And I always have to take my specs these days. I cannot get by without those! What would your playlist look like for a Viking ocean cruise around the Mediterranean? Let’s think about the countries. We could have Manuel de Falla for Spain and Gabriel Fauré to represent France—on air, I always call him my favorite French composer. Vivaldi for Italy, of course, and Brahms for Germany. I am a big fan of Brahms’s music and Mozart would have to be there, of course. With Brahms, I particularly love his late piano pieces that he wrote towards the end of his life. I get a sense of a man whose life had not been as easy as he would have liked. There is a wistfulness and a sense of regret in his very late piano pieces. The piano was his instrument, but you have to be feeling emotionally robust to listen to them, because they will tear you apart if you are not. They do me, anyway. 72 VIKING.COM EXPLORE MORE 2020

CULTURE Clockwise, from above: John has fond memories of a cruise through the Norwegian fjords; piano pieces are among some of his favorites; Austrian composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart And what about the soundtrack to a Viking river cruise along the Danube? Beethoven, Schubert, Mozart and Haydn—all the great Viennese, classical and romantic composers. I love Haydn’s Symphony No. 100, which is the Military Symphony. I studied that at school and I love that work to this day. Even studying it academically hasn’t spoilt it for me. And I love Schubert’s The Trout Quintet, which would seem appropriate being on a freshwater river. How do Viking and Classic FM complement one another? I think two words, really: quality and relaxation. You understand what the guest, the listener, wants—and deliver that to them. Definitely relaxation with a capital R. You can tune in and listen to John Brunning and other regular hosts on Classic FM from the comfort of your own Viking stateroom EXPLORE MORE 2020 VIKING.COM 73