Various Artists

Unfold Your Mind

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The producers of Berlin Classics' Unfold Your Mind seem to have been of two minds about its program, since some of the selections are perfectly predictable relaxation fare, while others are unusual choices, to say the least. It's not extraordinary to find Bach's famous Air on the G String; the Andante from Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 21, K. 467, "Elvira Madigan"; or Ravel's popular Pavane pour une infante défunte, because these pieces are so ubiquitous that their appearance on any chill-out album seems almost required by law. Also a bit expected are Grieg's Notturno from the Lyric Suite and Sibelius' tone poem The Swan of Tuonela, both of which are less common than the aforementioned pieces, yet still found on many budget compilations. But for some reason, Berlin Classics appears to have had a tough time finding enough perennial favorites, and slipped in the three Cold Pieces for piano by Erik Satie, which are seldom included on such collections, and dipped into the symphonic repertoire to extract the Allegretto grazioso from Brahms' Symphony No. 2 and, perhaps most oddly, the Tempo di Menuetto from Mahler's Symphony No. 3. Listeners who want only the most familiar pieces to unwind with may find this compilation exposes them to lively, complicated, even thought-provoking music, and the highs and lows may be too pronounced for restful listening or contemplation. However, if one takes the title of this disc as a suggestion to open one's mind, then the less familiar and more challenging pieces and movements may be suitable for listeners who want to let their thoughts run free. In any event, the sound of the ADD and DDD recordings is well-balanced and clean, and the performances have been drawn from Edel Classics' backlist, dating between 1974 and 1990, yet showing few signs of their age.

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