Music to mow lawns by: Mahler, as performed by the Chicago Symphony

No, that’s not Sir Georg Solti. It’s a sculpture titled “Seedbed (Picasso Mowing the Lawn).”

If you could hire a music expert to program a soundtrack for your life — with just the right song for just the right moment — would your life improve?

That's the question posed by the Des Moines Register, which a few years ago launched an occasional series that it calls the Iowa Playlist Project. For an early installation, it asked “some classical-music gurus around the state to suggest some music to accompany everyday activities, such as waking up, working out or hauling the kids around town on errands.”

Among the findings: “Any Mahler symphony recorded by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra will help with long and heavy lifting in the yard,” observed Joseph Giunta, music director of the Des Moines Symphony.

Also recommended in the yard-work division was Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring, as interpreted by the jazz trio The Bad Plus. Jason Weinberger, artistic director and chief conductor of Iowa’s Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony, lauds the “amazing creativity and technique in this jazz-and-classical mashup. Plus, the band’s heavy musical lifting complements any yard work I can imagine.”

You'll have to leave the lawn mover at home, of course, but you can judge the Mahler effect for yourself when the Chicago Symphony Orchestra performs the composer’s Symphony No. 6, conducted by Jaap van Zweden, in concerts April 21-24.