Paul Sarcich, Morley tutor for orchestral conducting and composition, shares his favourite classical pieces for relaxing and letting go of stress.
For best results, turn lights out, lie down, close eyes. Then let some great composers detox your brain. Stay there for as long as it takes. I hope you discover some great music in the process.
Vaughan Williams – Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis
In a magnificent example of ‘cathedral writing’, Vaughan Williams combines the influences of Tudor music and English folk song to produce a profoundly meditative piece, using two string orchestras and a string quartet. Tallis’s theme is a hymn tune, and Vaughan Williams uses it as a starting point for a truly magnificent musical journey. Contemplative, expansive, and wholly English.
Mozart – 2nd movement of the Clarinet Concerto
Acknowledged as one of Mozart’s greatest melodic inspirations, out of many many great melodies, it has a surface simplicity which hides the depth of feeling contained in it. Mozart explores it fully, to provide an immensely satisfying slow movement, which at times seems to just hang in the air. The sheer beauty of this movement comes from a mixture of the melody itself and the pleasing architecture of Mozart’s musical structure.
Arvo Part – Spiegel in Spiegel
Surely one of the most hypnotic pieces ever written, the piano plays a chain of broken chords while the cello weaves an astonishingly slow melody around them. Time seems to stand still in this piece, which is played with total quietness, giving an aura of utter relaxation and unhurriedness. It’s very simple structure makes it wholly accessible to all.