Perhaps you are feeling a lot of stress during these strange days. Or perhaps you just need some general chill. Well, I’d like to help with providing a playlist of calming, classical music that you probably haven’t heard. I’m going to do it via Youtube because everyone seems to have that — although I do have a Spotify playlist in the works if anyone is interested, just comment below.
Also, please feel free to share your favorite calming pieces. This list is not intended to be piano, so go nuts!
In no particular order:
- Billy the Kid, Billy in the Desert (Waltz) by Aaron Copland
2. ‘Mondnacht,” Liederkris Op. 39, no. 5 by Robert Schumann. Here performed by the great Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, baritone (1974)
3. Die Zauberflote Act I: Bei Mannern, welche Liebe fuhlen
Of course, as you may know, pretty much all of Mozart’s body of work is extremely calming. This is just me picking something representative that I really like.
This is actually my “road rage song.” Probably self-explanatory, I think.
4. String Quartet in Gmin, op. 10, mvt. III. Andantino doucement expressif by Claude Debussy
5. The Goldberg Variations (complete IMHO), J.S. Bach as recorded by Glenn Gould in 1956 (he also re-recorded it in 1981). Yes, I know this one is long BUT it was actually composed to cure a fancy lord’s insomnia back when it was written in 1741 – or at least that’s the story that was told (and is now questioned for its accuracy). Regardless, it’s a beautiful work that works out your tensions like a deep tissue massage. If you can’t stand to listen to something so long by one composer, please at least listen to the Aria, the first piece in the set – it’s basically a lullaby.
6. Salut d’amour in E major, Op. 12 by Edward Elgar, performed by Itzhak Perlman
7. ‘O Silver Moon’ from Rusalka by Dvorak, performed by Renee Fleming
8. Bach’s Violin Sonata No. 2 Fuga
Ok, Bach gets two pieces on this list. But I’m a Bach lover extraordinnaire, so there you have it.
This piece is for violin solo and performed by the brilliant Hillary Hahn.
9. Chopin, Barcarolle in F-Sharp Major, Op. 60
Chopin wrote an exceptional amount of relaxing pieces. If you are looking for more to listen to, I recommend the Nocturnes (all) and the Berceuse (“Cradle Song”).
9. Beethoven, Sonata No. 8 in C minor Op. 13 “Pathetique” 2nd movement, performed by Daniel Barenboim.
This is the second movement of an otherwise fiery (and sometimes over-played sonata). To me it’s a sigh of relief. Beethoven wrote 32 sonatas which range in human emotions – if you are feeling up to it, check them out along with the Coursera course discussing them by Jonathan Biss.
10. Salva Regina by François Poulenc, for choir. Poulenc was a 20th century composer of French origin. This piece just slaps, in a calm way of course.
And now my inner choir nerd has been released! Watch out!
11. Dmitri Shostakovich, Piano Concerto No. 2, mvt 2.
12. Samuel Barber, Songs, Op. 2 No. 1 “The Daisies” by Thomas Hampson
13. Wondrous Love – Arr. Parker/Shaw
14. Lux Aeterna by Ivo Antognini (b. 1963)
15. Rachmaninoff, Vocalise, Op. 34 No.14
16. And last, because I can’t stop unless I make myself. The final trio from Der Rosenkavalier by Richard Strauss.
And, here’s the link (see below) to the entire playlist, which I will likely be adding to over time. So get some tea, lie down and close your eyes, and relax to this wonderful selection of music. Hope you enjoy 🙂
And again, please feel free to add suggestions of your own!
Oops update: I put in the wrong link when I published this. Here is the correct link.