Relaxing neoclassical music for reading, studying, or meditation in 2020

Salvatore Altavilla – “Aeolian Lullaby”
-If I had to explain to someone what I mean by “neoclassical” music, I would play this track from Salvatore Altavilla. It’s beautiful, subtle, and unbelievably engaging. Everything about it feels comfortable and meaningful. I really appreciate that elements of the melody repeat, but for the most part it keeps you wondering what is next. I could write to this for hours.

Slowburner – “Everything will be okay”
-Without words, this piece says everything you need to hear right now. Everything will be okay. Even though no one can know that it will be okay, this is something that we all need to hear. We need solidarity and a positive spirit, even when it’s hard. We also need to be helping each other. How are you helping? This song’s use of piano is so powerful; it seems to harness the strings to cultivate goodness from the air. I love it.

Rikard Mathisson – “I felt”
-The lines of this piece roll beautifully into each other. I like how the left and right hand almost seem to be two different elements, yet they work together perfectly in some places. The overall energy of the piece is definitely powerful. It’s got a forward momentum that I really enjoy. I hope others find it as inspirational as I do.

Isaias Malafaia – “Mnemosine”
-One of my favorite parts of covering neoclassical music is that it allows the music to be the language. I don’t need to know what this word means in Portuguese to know how the piece makes me feel. It’s peaceful and engaging. It settles my soul without words. I find this cinematic piece to be incredibly breathtaking. I seldom cover neoclassical with strings, so if it has them it has to take your breath away. This one does.

Al Gilliom – “I. Letting Go”
-There’s some really unique phrasing in this piece from Al Gilliom. The piano doesn’t follow a typical melodic structure, putting the listener in an immediate place of intrigue. Yet the song itself is so utterly peaceful in the selection of chords and the delicate playing. The juxtaposition is absolutely sparkling, pulling the listener in from beginning to end.

Sarah Spring – “Return”
-From the opening unique time signature and more classical melodic structure, I could tell Sarah Spring was not creating the typical neoclassical music. It’s almost like hearing a modernized version of a music box. It’s a look into something with shades of the past and hopes of the future, all at once. I really like the performance, the sound of the mechanics of the piano itself, and the way the recording somehow captures the movement of the pianist as well. This is captivating, honestly.

Kendra Logozar – “Whisper”
-Kendra Logozar is one of the most talented neoclassical composers I’ve found recently. This piece is evidence of that fact. The phrasing of each line in this piece is carefully chosen, like a well written speech. But this is no speech in front of thousands; it’s an intimate, quiet conversation. I don’t know if it’s a Saturday morning with the sun peeking through a window or late at night with the flicker of a candle in the distance, but I adore the subtlety and sweetness here. This is a gift.

Shawn Kerr – “Fluke”
-We get a fair amount of neoclassical submissions and I can’t feature them all, but I clicked Kerr’s submission very quickly despite it going a bit outside of my normal preference within the genre. The reason is quite simple; I FEEL something with this piece. The atmospheric background sounds put me in mind of that great classic word “splendor.” The connection between the atmospheric sounds and the piano work is absolutely incredible.

Image courtesy: Salvatore Altavilla IG

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