Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Practice--10 Classical Movements for Relaxation

Face it, many of us are feeling like we're a high wire act these days so staying balanced and grounded feels challenging.  When we feel stress, tension, or too much chaos in the world we need to take time out and retreat either into silence or with relaxing classical music.

You could even listen to new age or other types of music, but I choose classical music specifically because we know the key of each piece.  Also with classical music, you can bet that the second movement of a concerto or even a symphony will slow down and provide a respite, but more so with the concertos.  I feel that chamber music provides the most relaxation since the brain doesn't go into overdrive keeping up with several musical themes.  Solo instruments provide the most relaxation, especially instruments playing low tones--the low end of the piano, a prominent bass ostinato, cello, bassoon, etc...

I'm providing you with a list of composers, compositions and 2nd movements (or whole pieces) so you can get started.  I'm even providing video samples, but you can just as well, slip on your headphones and close your eyes.  Get lost in the music.  For relaxation purposes look for slower, simpler, and lower tone music.  Not all these tracks fit all those qualities, but I still find the compositions relaxing.  Since we're all different, play around with this and see what works for you.  I advise you to keep a music journal since moods and situations change.  A song that works for you now, might not work for you at 6:00 p.m. or at bedtime.  Fortunately, you have plenty of choices even within the realm of classical music.

1. Shostakovich, Piano Concerto No. 2, Second Movement (Adante)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JlMHjo7Jwhk

2. Rolf Lislevand, any track from Nuove Musiche, ECM, but especially, Arpeggiata addio and the closing track, Toccata cromatica (with Arianna Savall on vocals)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lr_ZA8MQUVY

3. Mozart, Clarinet Concerto (second movement)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QAAZ29cvfU

4. Ludwig van Beethoven, Moonlight Sonata

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQVeaIHWWck

5. Claude Debussy, Prelude to the Afternoon of the Faun (or Claire de Lune)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_7loz-HWUM

6. Maurice Ravel, Piano Concerto in G major (second movement)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NRTWLQ4nI6Q

7. Johann Sebastian Bach, Partita No. 2 in C minor (piano), *1st movement, 2nd movement, 4th movement

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7VyziV9AMw

8. Antonio Vivaldi, Cello Concerto in G minor, Adagio, 2nd movement 

Not able to find this specific movement on YouTube.  There is a similar piece for double cello

9. Joaquin Rodrigo, Concierto Aranjuez, 2nd movement

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drEn72D8FhU

10. Felix Mendelssohn, Concerto for Piano and Strings, 2nd movement  

Not able to find this one on YouTube

One warning, YouTube videos some times have commercials preceding the video

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