A short neoclassical list to set your spirit

I have always found neoclassical music to be soothing and soulfully enriching. In that vein, here are some tracks that will help to set the mood for the week and put you in a zen place.

Kotaro Saito – “Byo No Ma”
-Even though I don’t speak a word of Japanese and have no idea what this song is supposedly about, I can FEEL what this song is. There’s a sullen feeling throughout the lines. And although it can be soul-crushing more than inspiring, there’s a depth of emotion in it that deserves to be heard. Maybe this one will resonate with you right where you are today. The blended strings here in unconventional patterns are fantastic.

Victor Butzelaar – “Ribbon Dance”
-I know you’ve seen those people who dance with a little ribbon and it trails, making all sorts of fun shapes. It’s envigorating to watch them, even if you aren’t really a dance person. This song does a wonderful job of capturing that emotion and raw physicality of dance intertwined (literally) with art. The piano lines roll from one into the next, setting a mood of both movement and peacefulness.

Johan Eckman – Sleepy Songs – “Years to Come”
-This piece defies easy description. On one hand it feels a bit like a lullaby. On the other hand, it has this moving cinematic quality that seems like it’s telling a story. There’s an assurance of peacefulness in the tone of the strings. The album is a collection of piano songs, but this sounds more like a klavier? If any readers can shed light we’d appreciate it. No matter what you call it, this is a beautiful piece of music.

Katarina Gubanova – “Contemplation”
-The title “Contemplation” is true of a lot of neoclassical, but it’s particularly true of this piece. I picture this playing in a thoughtful place like a study or a formal library. It’s got an urgency in the phrasing like a serious conversation. While it is certainly relaxing in its own way, it’s more thought provoking than the kind that would put you to sleep. I would love to know the deeper story behind this piece.

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