Music of M*A*S*H: Charles and Classical Music

When Larry Linville opted not to return to M*A*S*H after his five-year contract ended, the writers were careful not to replace the spineless, incompetent Frank Burns with a similiar character. Instead, they created Charles Emerson Winchester, III: a brilliant yet arrogant surgeon raised in a wealthy Boston family, accustomed to the finer things in life like expensive wine and classical music.

Charles is first seen enjoying classical music at the end of the Season 6 season premiere (“Fade Out, Fade In”) and then sporadically throughout the rest of the series.

Although most of the classical music heard on M*A*S*H involves Charles, there were episodes that featured other characters listening to (or talking about) classical music. Who can forget Radar’s “Ah, Bach” from “Love Story” (Season 1)? Or Hawkeye and Kyung Soon listening to Beethoven in “In Love & War” (Season 6)?

Also, Hawkeye and B.J. both sing pieces by Verdi in “Comrades in Arms, Part 1” (Season 6). And Hawkeye plays Bach’s “Arioso” for Inga in “Inga” (Season 7).

Many thanks to classical music enthusiast TWoods for his invaluable help compiling a list of all the pieces Charles listened to on M*A*S*H.


Season 6 (1977-1978)

Fade Out, Fade In

Composition Name: String Quartet No. 17 in B flat major K. 458 “The Hunt”
Composer: W.A. Mozart

Still from the MASH episode Fade Out, Fade In showing Charles listening to music.
Charles listens to Mozart in “Fade Out, Fade In”

This piece helps Charles relax after being assigned permanently to the 4077th. He plays it while waiting for Hawkeye and B.J. to return to the Swamp so his practical joke on Hawkeye can unfold.

Season 7 (1978-1979)

None Like It Hot

Composition Name: 1812 Overture
Composer: Peter Tchaikovsky

Still from the M*A*S*H episode None Like It Hot showing Charles listening to music in a tent
Charles listens to Tchaikovsky in “None Like It Hot”

Charles enjoys this piece while relaxing in Hawkeye’s bathtub during a heatwave. He’s able to cut the line after a fight breaks out, distracting everyone else waiting for their chance to cool off.

Dear Comrade

Composition Name: Follie! Delirio vano e questo from La Traviata
Composer: Giuseppe

Still from the M*A*S*H episode Dear Comrade showing Charles listening to music
Charles listens to Verdi in “Dear Comrade”

Not only does Charles conduct along to this composition in the Swamp, he mimes singing along as well. Unfortunately for him, Hawkeye and B.J. return from Tokyo and ruin his day.

Ain’t Love Grand

Composition Name: String Quartet No. 4 in C minor, Op. 18
Composer: Ludvig von Beethoven

Still from the M*A*S*H episode Ain't Love Grand showing Charles listening to music
Charles listens to Beethoven in “Ain’t Love Grand”

After a lengthy stint in surgery, Charles puts on some Beethoven to relax, frustrating Hawkeye and B.J. who just want to sleep.

Composition Name: Serenade for Strings in C Major, Op. 48
Composer: Peter Tchaikovsky

Still from the M*A*S*H episode Ain't Love Grand showing Charles listening to music.
Charles listens to Tchaikovsky in “Ain’t Love Grand”

Charles plays this piece for Sooni, hoping she’ll enjoy it. He calls it “Such stuff as dreams are made of” and hums along, but she doesn’t appreciate it.

Season 8 (1979-1980)

Guerilla My Dreams

Composition Name: Symphonie Fantastique
Composer: Hector Berlioz

Still from the M*A*S*H episode Guerilla My Dreams showing Charles listening to music.
Charles listens to Berlioz in “Guerilla My Dreams”

Charles hums part of this composition while playing chess with Lt. Hung Lee Park. The distraction doesn’t work and Lt. Park wins the game.

Heal Thyself

NOTE: The cue sheet for this episode doesn’t include any of the following musical selections. Can anyone identify them?

Composition Name: Unidentified
Composer: Unidentified

Still from the M*A*S*H episode Heal Thyself showing Charles listening to music.
Charles listens to unidentified music.

Charles plays a recording of opera singer Enrico Caruso while he and Colonel Potter are in quarantine together with the mumps. Colonel Potter is less than impressed.

Composition Name: Unidentified
Composer: Unidentified

Still from the M*A*S*H episode Heal Thyself showing Charles listening to music.
Charles listens to unidentified music.

After Charles begins playing his Caruso record again, Colonel Potter rips it off the phonograph and flings it out of his tent, where it shatters against the side of an ambulance.

Composition Name: Unidentified
Composer: Unidentified

Still from the M*A*S*H episode Heal Thyself showing Charles listening to music.
Charles listens to unidentified music.

With Colonel Potter’s ears protected by a pair of makeshift earplugs, Charles is free to listen to his records–at least until Klinger, stricken with the mumps, joins them in quarantine.

Morale Victory

Composition Name: Piano Concerto for the Left Hand
Composer: Maurice Ravel

Still from the the M*A*S*H episode Morale Victory showing Private Sheridan playing Ravel.
Private Sheridan plays Ravel.

Charles saves Private David Sheridan’s leg and is shocked when his patient only cares about his injured hand. It turns out Private Sheridan is a concert pianist whose career, it seems, is over. But Charles is able to find sheet music written for one hand. Private Sheridan is initially resistant but after Charles opens up about his inability to play music, the talented pianist plays the piece brilliantly with just his left hand.

Season 9 (1980-1981)

“A War for All Seasons”

Composition Name: “Grand March” from Aida
Composer: Giuseppe Verdi

Still from the M*A*S*H episode A War for All Seasons showing Charles tuning a radio.
Charles wants to listen to baseball, not Verdi.

This piece is playing on the radio in Post Op when Klinger brings Hawkeye his package of sausage casings from Packo’s. Charles rushes in and wants to listen to baseball.

“Must we always listen to this mindless pap? Get to the sports news.”
Charles, “A War for All Seasons”

“Tell It to the Marines”

Composition Name: Overture to “The Flying Dutchman”
Composer: Richard Wagner

Still from the M*A*S*H episode Tell It to the Marines showing Charles listening to music.
Charles listens to Wagner.

Charles is listening to this in Colonel Potter’s office when Potter returns from a conference in Tokyo. Dismayed at how Charles has taken over, Potter sneaks into the office and catches Charles by surprise. He then kicks Charles out–without his pants.

“Operation Friendship”

Composition Name: Anvil Chorus from “Il Travatore”
Composer: Giuseppe Verdi

Still from the M*A*S*H episode Operation Friendship showing Charles humming Verdi.
Charles hums a Verdi tune.

Charles hums a portion of this piece while stamping reports in Klinger’s office.

“The Foresight Saga”

Composition Name: Serenade for Strings in C Major, Op. 48
Composer: Peter Tchaikovsky

Still from the M*A*S*H episode The Foresight Saga showing Charles listening to music.
Charles listens to Tchaikovsky.

Charles is enjoying this composition, played on his reel-to-reel player rather than his record player, when Hawkeye and B.J. arrive and announce Park Sung will be staying in the Swamp for a few days.

Season 10 (1981-1982)

“That’s Show Biz”

Composition Name: Piano Sonata No. 8, “Pathetique”, First Movement
Composer: Ludwig von Beethoven

Still from the M*A*S*H episode That's Show Biz showing Ellie playing Beethoven.
Ellie plays Beethoven.

Ellie surprises and impresses Charles by expertly playing a portion of this composition on the piano in the Officer’s Club. She mentions Dvorak and Brahms, two famous composers who also wrote folk dances, in an attempt to convince Charles to open his mind and “let a little fresh air in.”

The Birthday Girls

Composition Name: Pictures at an Exhibition – Tuileries
Composer: Modest Mussorgsky

Still from the M*A*S*H episode The Birthday Girls showing Charles listening to music.
Charles listens to Mussorgsky.

Charles is listening to this on his record player in the Swamp when Margaret barges in to ask if he’ll give her nurses a lecture on using Levophed so she can go to Tokyo.

Picture This

Composition Name: Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 74, Pathétique, 3rd Movement
Composer: Peter Tchaikovsky

Still from the M*A*S*H episode Picture This showing Charles listening to music.
Charles listens to Tchaikovsky.

After Hawkeye moves out of the Swamp, Charles tries to listen to this piece but B.J. won’t stop sharing the contents of a letter from Peg. When B.J. turns off his light to go to bed, he asks Charles to turn down the music. Charles says he does but the volume doesn’t change.

Composition Name: Overture to “Romeo and Juliet”
Composer: Peter Tchaikovsky

Still from the M*A*S*H episode Picture This showing Charles listening to music.
Charles listens to Tchaikovsky.

Charles relaxes while listening to this composition when Father Mulcahy stops by the Swamp looking for B.J. He then insists on talking with Charles about Hawkeye in an attempt to trick the Swamp mates into reconciling.

Composition Name: Serenade for Strings in C Major, Op. 48
Composer: Peter Tchaikovsky

Still from the M*A*S*H episode Picture This showing Charles listening to music.
Charles listens to Tchaikovsky.

This is playing in the Swamp when Hawkeye moves back in. B.J. is hard at work on a letter to his wife while Charles reads the paper.

Composition Name: “Pique Dame” Overture
Composer: Franz von Suppe

Still from the M*A*S*H episode Picture This showing Charles listening to music.
Charles listens to Franz von Suppe.

Charles tries to listen to this during the tag scene, but B.J. is again sharing stories from Peg’s latest letter. An annoyed Hawkeye turns up the volume on the record player.

Season 11 (1982-1983)

The U.N., the Night, and the Music

Composition Name: Piano Quintet in A major, “Trout”
Composer: Franz Schubert

Still from the M*A*S*H episode The U.N., the Night and the Music showing Charles listening to music.
Charles listens to Schubert.

Charles is listening to this piece when Hawkeye brings Dr. Kent to the Swamp. Dr. Kent and Charles bond over their love of chamber music.

Friends and Enemies

Composition Name: Symphony No. 5, 1st Movement
Composer: Gustav Mahler

Still from the M*A*S*H episode Friends and Enemies showing Charles listening to music.
Charles listens to Mahler.

At the start of the episode, Charles turns this piece on and annoys B.J., who is suffering from an ingrown toenail. B.J. calls the piece “garbage,” infuriating Charles. Klinger stops by with the mail. Charles receives a package of records, including more Mahler.

Composition Name: Kindertotenlieder
Composer: Gustav Mahler

Still from the M*A*S*H episode Friends and Enemies showing Charles trying to listen to music.
Charles tries to listen to Mahler.

Charles tries to listen this piece on the jukebox in the Officers’ Club but nobody else wants to hear it.

Composition Name: Kindertotenlieder
Composer: Gustav Mahler

Still from the M*A*S*H episode Friends and Enemies showing Charles listening to music.
Charles listens to Mahler.

Charles uses Margaret’s phonograph to listen to this in the Swamp in order to annoy B.J.

Composition Name: Symphony No. 5, 1st Movement
Composer: Gustav Mahler

Still from the M*A*S*H episode Friends and Enemies showing Charles and Margaret listening to music.
Charles and Margaret listen to Mahler.

Charles and Margaret play this piece to drive B.J. out of the Swamp.

Give and Take

Composition Name: Unidentified
Composer: Unidentified

Charles listens to unidentified music.
Charles listens to unidentified music.

This unidentified piece is playing in the Swamp while Hawkeye works on cataloging the 4077th’s new medicine to help out Klinger. Father Mulcahy barges in, turns off the music, and starts yelling at Charles.

Goodbye, Farewell and Amen

Composition Name: Mozart Clarinet Quintet In A, K 581
Composer: W. A. Mozart

Still from the M*A*S*H episode Goodbye Farewell and Amen showing POWs playing Mozart.
POWs playing Mozart.

A group of North Korean POWs play this piece, surprising Charles.

Still from the M*A*S*H episode Goodbye Farewell and Amen showing Charles conducting the POWs.
Charles tries to conduct the POWs.

Later, he acts as conductor in the Mess Tent, trying to improve their performance.

Still from the M*A*S*H episode Goodbye Farewell and Amen showing POWs playing Mozart.
The POWs play Mozart.

When the POWs are shipped out, they play the piece in the back of the truck carrying them away from the 4077th–and from Charles.

“For me, music was always a refuge from this miserable experience. And now it will always be a reminder.”
Charles, “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen”


Published December 24th, 2019


6 Replies to “Music of M*A*S*H: Charles and Classical Music”

  1. First – beautiful catalog. Clearly not easy. And an inspired idea to catalog Charles’ music. I think the use of classical music in GFA was one of the best codas (pun intended) to any character in the series. To take what Charles’ loved and make it a constant reminder of war was one of the most perfect parts of GFA.

  2. For those who are interested, I have a couple of folders for the Classical Music. ( I don’t have all the pieces mentioned but most in some form or other)

    The main folder here consists of 1 CD’s worth of tracks, (easy to burn). Obviously the pieces would have played for just a couple of seconds, this folder has the full versions of some of these pieces, you can download and burn them.

    https://mega.nz/#F!ouJjDQbJ!qs1eKxu2Dm-biHagBqjgyQ

    1 String Quartet No. 17 ‘ The Hunt ‘ – 1st Movement – Mozart – Fade Out Fade In
    2 String Quartet No 4 in C – 1st Movement – Beethoven -Ain’t Love Grand
    3 Serenade for Strings in C Major – 1st Movement- Tchaikovsky – Ain’t Love Grand
    4 Grand March from Aida – Verdi – A War For All Seasons
    5 Overture to “The Flying Dutchman” – Wagner – Tell It To The Marines
    6 Piano Sonata No. 8, “Pathetique”, First Movement – Beethoven – That’s Showbiz
    7 Pictures At An Exhibition – Tuileries Gardens – Mussorgsky – The Birthday Girls
    8 Symphony No 6 ‘ Pathetique’ – 3rd Movement – Tchaikovsky – Picture This
    9 Piano Quintet in A major, “Trout” – 2nd Movement – Schubert – The UN and The Night Music
    10 Kindertotenlieder – 1st Movement – Mahler – Friends And Enemies
    11 Clarinet Quintet in A Major – 1st Movement – Mozart – Goodbye, Farewell And Amen

  3. I remember once seeing “Dear Comrade” in a rerun, and, remembering & enjoying the bit at the beginning w/ Charles lip-synching to the opera, I recorded the opening of the scene w/ my audio tape recorder. I especially thought it was funny when Hawkeye & BJ’s squealing Jeep breaks through the music on the high note & makes Charles spill his wine on himself.

    Although I didn’t like the main plot of “Friends and Enemies”, I like this subplot, especially how Charles enlisted Margaret to gain revenge on BJ.

  4. The piece from “Pictures at an Exhibition” was actually Ballet of the Chickens, not Tuileries. (Maybe he played both but I know I heard Ballet of the Chickens there.) But thank you – you helped me figure out which music it was!

  5. What about the music he was playing on his French horn in The Smell of Music? The first song he was playing was the show’s thene song.

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