A sportscast with Jay’s favorite gurus: Sally Jenkins, Vivek Dave, and David French. Bill Belichick and the Pats. The coach’s turning down of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The miraculous career of Tom Brady. Too “miraculous”? Anything illicit going on? Urban Meyer, the Washington Football Team, James Harden as Brooklyn Net, and more. Very lively, very informed—very entertaining.

In 1913, Vachel Lindsay wrote “General William Booth Enters into Heaven.” It speaks of the founder of the Salvation Army. Peggy Noonan cited this poem in a recent column. In 1914, Charles Ives set the poem to music. You will hear it in this episode. Also a Beatles concerto (yes), a rag by an early Metropolitan Opera soprano (yes), some American standards, and, at the end, transcendent Mahler. Jay plays off a good amount of reader mail. An amazingly eclectic, interesting episode.

Shchedrin, Piano Concerto No. 1
Robison, “Think Well of Me
Rutter, “Beatles Concerto,” first movement
Pinkard-Alexander-Mitchell, “Sugar
Ives, “General William Booth Enters into Heaven
Pinkard-Bernie-Casey, “Sweet Georgia Brown
Case, “Metropolitan Rag
Handel, “Rejoice greatly,” from “Messiah”
Mahler, Symphony No. 2, “Resurrection”

Jay talks once more with one of his favorite writers and people — Kevin D. Williamson, whose new book is “Big White Ghetto: Dead Broke, Stone-Cold Stupid, and High on Rage in the Dank Woolly Wilds of the ‘Real America.’” Among the topics: poverty, drugs, gambling, porn, and despair. But don’t worry: The conversation is much more pleasurable than it sounds.

In 2017, Bryan Fogel made “Icarus,” a film about Russia, sports, and doping. It was a highly consequential film. It won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. Now Fogel has made “The Dissident,” about Jamal Khashoggi and his murder by the Saudi government. Jay talks with Fogel about his life and his work. An interesting, admirable fellow, Fogel.

Jay has an assortment for you—some Bach, some jazz, some Russian, some French, a spiritual . . . It all ends with a thrilling “First Nowell.”

Bach, “Jauchzet, frohlocket,” Christmas Oratorio
Berlin, “White Christmas
Bach, “Nun seid ihr wohl gerochen,” Christmas Oratorio
Gauntlett, “Once in Royal David’s City
Trad., “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
Chesnokov, “Gabriel Appeared
Trad., “Il est né, le divin Enfant
Trad., “Somebody Talkin’ ’bout Jesus
Trad., “The First Nowell

The latest of Richard Brookhiser’s many excellent and useful books is “Give Me Liberty: A History of America’s Exceptional Idea.” What can Americans rally around, diverse as we are? Liberty. What is the wellspring of these United States? Liberty. In this “Q&A,” Brookhiser touches on the Founding, Gettysburg, Seneca Falls, and more. Rick Brookhiser has the gift of understanding, and the gift of communicating it to others – in writing and, as you’ll hear, by the spoken word.

Once more, Tim Alberta, the ace reporter from Politico, is Jay’s guest. He has done some of the best writing in the post-election (as in the pre-election). Try this, for instance, and this. He and Jay talk about their home state, Michigan: dramatic hearings; dramatic other things, including a plot to kidnap the governor. They go beyond Michigan, too, to talk about the state of the union, which is far from good. Americans are at one another’s throats. Tim Alberta has done some serious reporting and thinking about it.

This episode is a real smorgasbord—works, mainly short, by Domenico Scarlatti, Rachmaninoff, Duparc, Stravinsky, Jonathan Dove, and Jerome Kern, among others. A tasty, diverse spread. You may well want it all.

Scarlatti, D., Sonata in G, K. 14
Rachmaninoff, Andante, Cello Sonata
Duparc, Lento, Cello Sonata
Lachenmann, “Five Variations on a Theme by Franz Schubert
Stravinsky, Piece for Solo Clarinet
Shostakovich, Impromptu (for viola and piano)
Dove, “Fair Ship,” from “Under Alter’d Skies”
Kern-Tatum, “The Way You Look Tonight

Declan Walsh is a veteran foreign correspondent, whom Jay has read and cited for years. Walsh has reported from many spots, most of them troubled – very. He has recently been Cairo bureau chief for the New York Times. Now he is in Africa for that paper. He has just written a book about Pakistan (a country from which he was expelled). Jay tours the world with Declan Walsh – or a bit of it – starting with the reporter’s growing up in Ireland.

Harvey Mansfield, the professor of government and political philosopher at Harvard, is one of the great teachers in America. He does some splendid teaching in this hour with Jay. He talks about manliness – what it is and what it isn’t. (Mansfield published a book on the subject in 2006.) He talks about “conservative” and “liberal” – what do those things mean? He addresses the question, posed long ago, of whether we can keep our republic. In all, a rich and enriching hour, requiring not a cent in tuition.

In honor of the recent “blue moon,” Jay plays four songs about the moon—two classical, two popular. He also has some Quincy Jones, some Cannibal Corpse (yup), some Villa-Lobos, and some Bruckner. Complain if you will, but not about a lack of variety.

Rodgers & Hart, “Blue Moon
Bellini, “Vaga luna, che inargenti
Dvořák, “Song to the Moon,” from “Rusalka”
Howard, “Fly Me to the Moon
Jones, “The Streetbeater
Cannibal Corpse, “Frantic Disembowelment
Villa-Lobos, “Punch,” from “The Baby’s Family”
Villa-Lobos, “Lullaby” from “The Baby’s Family”
Bruckner, Symphony No. 4

In these post-election days, Jay wanted to talk to his old friend and colleague Robert Costa: national political reporter of the Washington Post; analyst for NBC News and MSNBC; host of PBS’s “Washington Week.” They do indeed talk it over: R’s, D’s, media, inaugurations, and more. Costa is a man who knows – because he finds out.

A wide-ranging conversation with Sally Jenkins, columnist of the Washington Post, and David French, senior editor of The Dispatch. An NBA season. A Major League Baseball season. College football, sort of. A Masters tournament in November. Should there be a college sports major? And more. Two seasoned and eloquent gurus, questioned by Jay.

In the middle of the World Series, you want to talk baseball with George F. Will. You want to talk baseball with him anytime, actually, and a number of other subjects, too. In this “Q&A,” Will speaks of the “angelic, superb Mookie Betts,” of the Los Angeles Dodgers. He also talks about the presidential campaign, the Supreme Court, and the Republican Party. There’s Big Tech, too. Is it to be feared? Well, one behemoth replaces another. A&P had thousands of stores in the middle of town; then Piggly Wiggly set up stores on the outskirts of town, which was bad news for the other guys. Jay asks Will some personal questions: about David Brinkley and Sam Donaldson, for example. He also asks him about Lincoln (whom Will values highly, as does Jay): What might Lincoln have to say to us today? A well-rounded, invigorating conversation.

Earlier this month, Bret Stephens wrote a searching essay on the New York Times’s 1619 Project. Stephens is a columnist for the New York Times himself. The 1619 Project places slavery at the center of the American founding (and thus of America). With Jay, Stephens talks about this, and much else: the presidential campaign, the Middle East, New York City, and more. Bret Stephens won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013. Jay often says that he wishes he could give Stephens a second one.

Cameron Hilditch is a writer for National Review, born in 1998, as the Troubles wound down: the Troubles in Northern Ireland. This Northern Irishman is a “child of the peace,” as he says. He went to Magdalen College, Oxford. He has a great love for the United States, and a great knowledge about it (and other things). Jay asks him about Northern Ireland, America, democracy, and a lot more. You can learn a lot from this young man, and he is a delight to listen to. You may even want to hear the podcast twice.

That’s what Dido sings in Purcell’s opera, about her and Aeneas: “Remember me!” Jay is reminded of this when filling out forms on the Internet. In this episode, he plays Dido, plus Charlie Parker, Franz Schmidt, Leonard Bernstein, Lyle Lovett, and others. An unusually eclectic show—which also brings the Op. 1 by a young woman from Las Vegas: a “quarantine rag.”

Trad., “The Parting Glass
Parker or Davis, “Donna Lee
Verdi, “Parmi veder le lagrime,” from Verdi’s “Rigoletto”
Glow-Worm
Schmidt, Adagio from Quintet in A major
Mosca, Kristen, “Quarantine Rag
Bernstein, “I Am Easily Assimilated,” from “Candide”
Lovett, “If I Had a Boat
Purcell, “Dido’s Lament,” from “Dido and Aeneas”

There was once a movie called “Divorce American Style.” David French was going to title his new book “The Great American Divorce.” But the title is “Divided We Fall: America’s Secession Threat and How to Restore Our Nation.” David and Jay are old friends and comrades, and they talk about the issues raised in the book – plus the Afghan War, the NBA, and more.

That’s a lot to promise in one humble music podcast, isn’t it? Greatness, consolation, and transcendence? But it is truth in advertising.

Handel, “Dopo notte atra e funesta,” from Handel’s “Ariodante”
Pärt, “Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten
Mozart, Clarinet Concerto
Trad., “Shenandoah
Brahms, Piano Trio No. 1 in B major, Op. 8
Bach, “Mache dich, mein Herze, rein,” from St. Matthew Passion

Thomas Kent is a veteran, estimable journalist. He held many positions with the Associated Press, including Moscow bureau chief and international editor. He was the president and CEO of Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty. And he is the author of a new book: “Striking Back: Overt and Covert Options to Combat Russian Disinformation.” Kent knows all about it: the ins and outs, the pros and cons. It’s a pleasure to be in the hands of a real expert, on an important topic.