A breathe-easy neoclassical playlist for your midweek chill

Solo – “Finesse”
-This piece is articulate and beautiful. I love the minimal aesthetic here. It’s fascinating to me that there’s a sweet and subtle energy that drives the composition. I don’t know anything about why it was written or even what it means, yet I feel something deep in my soul that is settled and peaceful listening to this piece. It’s beautiful and I think that’s reason enough to like it.

Andy Feldman – “Stay with me”
-Andy Feldman is one of those composers who can do so much with what seems like so little. The opening melody is repeated and somehow says something different with each repetition. It’s like a conversational phrase. The emphasis we put on words can change the meaning. Feldman’s melody does that exact thing here several times. I adore the expressive style. I don’t know all the technical terms for what makes this music so lovely, but I will say that it speaks to me and calms me. It’s an assurance to someone that they will stay together. It’s beautiful.

William Ogmundson – “The Enchanted Music Box”
-We’ve almost covered the entirety of Ogmundson’s album at this point, but seriously how can you say “no thanks” to tracks like these? This wonderful song literally does sound like a music box. My daughter has a few of these from over the years and they are always so charming, so delicate, yet there’s a charm to them. There’s a nostalgia to this song that I appreciate, but also a beautiful gentleness that the articulate key strokes so perfectly express. It amazes me how Ogmundson can express so much with the piano’s voice.

Patrick Beaulieu-Hardin – “Sleep Thief”
-The phrasing on this piece is broken into sections making it so that the listener has to concentrate a bit at the beginning. Where are we going here? It’s a thoughtfully composed and executed piece that doesn’t follow conventions of constant rolling melodies like most neoclassical music. Instead, it feels a bit more modern in thoughtfulness and the manner in which the stops and starts engage the listener. No sleeping to this one allowed!

Michael Logozar – “Rise”
-This cinematic piece from Logozar brings in multiple string instruments for a delicate and moving track. The piano acts as the primary melodic voice, but the song would be something entirely different without the rest of the strings. I can’t help but picture an epic transition scene with this song in a film or documentary. The slowed down sections that transition feel like the scene is about to fade into something new. It’s breathtakingly beautiful.

Wei Yuan – “A Warm Light”
-I grew up in a church where piano music was common place and often played by a family member (mother, aunts, sister, and cousins all played). So hearing piano phrasing like this always reminds me of those days of my youth. This song has a beautiful lightness to it that is reminiscent of those choral compositions of my early days. I find Yuan’s articulation here to be beautifully precise, giving gentle open places for emotion and joy to emerge from amongst the ear-pleasing chords.

Anna Sofia Nord – “Reflection”
-If you regularly read my neoclassical features, then you are familiar with Nord’s music. They are literally all gorgeous. Nord is one of my favorites on a short list with Dustin O’Halloran and Abby Gundersen. The articulate phrasing and rolling melody work to evoke emotions I didn’t even know I was having. I wish I could find better words to say what I mean, but this piece literally touches my soul. It makes me want to read, write, study, and rest all at once. It’s stunningly beautiful.

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