Various Artists

Classics for Relaxation [2008]

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This curious box, with 10 CDs enclosed in a pair of thick cardboard cases covered with a metal box showing beach chairs, may actually cause stress with its sheer size. Who needs to carry around 10 CDs of music to relax by? They come packaged with a booklet that has nothing to do with music, offering tips on massage, meditation, and stretching instead. Perhaps Madacy will see fit to release a Music for Stretching box one of these days. The advantage here is that there's a lot of music for the price, ready either to throw in the changer or to be heard in sequence, and for multitaskers who prefer, say, to combine education with relaxation, the music is actually classified by type, with discs given over to "Delightful Baroque," "The Late Romantics," "Piano Bookends," and "Strings & Piano," as well as more amorphous conceptions like "Classical Favorites" and "Potpourri." The music mostly consists of slow movements extracted from larger works, with uncomplicated copyright apparently the main selection criterion; most of the performances are 30 or 40 years old. The problem with this kind of exercise (and it's open for debate whether the problem lies with the marketeers or with the culture of classical music itself) is that nobody puts out cheap anthologies of Literature for Relaxation; it is only classical music, among the classicized art forms, that is supposed to have this narcotic effect. In the present case, however, the buyer should watch out: the music here might make you sit up and take an interest.

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Concerto Grosso in A minor, Op.6/4, HWV 322
Violin Concerto, for violin, strings & continuo in E major ("L'estro armonico" No. 12), Op. 3/12, RV 265
2 3:37
Flute Concerto, for flute, strings & continuo in G minor ("La Notte"), Op. 10/2, RV 439
3 1:51
4 3:21
5 2:13
6 2:32
Sarabande, Gigue & Badinerie ("Suite for Strings") (arranged by Ettore Pinelli)
7 3:13
8 2:13
9 1:12
Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D major, BWV 1068
Water Music Suite No.1 for orchestra in F major, HWV 348
Double Violin Concerto, for 2 violins, strings & continuo in A minor ("L'estro armonico" No. 8), Op. 3/8, RV 522
12 3:44
Flute Concerto in D major, H. 7f/D1 (spurious: by L. Hofmann)
13 7:53
Concerto for viola, strings & continuo in G major, TWV 51:G9
14 4:53
Mandolin Concerto, for mandolin, strings & continuo in C major, RV 425
15 3:12
16 2:47
17 2:46
blue highlight denotes track pick