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The Ten Best Musical works - chosen by Condoleezza Rice, US Secretary of State

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

"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

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

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.

The Ten Best is edited by Rebecca Armstrong r.armstrong@independent.co.uk