Various Artists

Meditation Classics

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While Meditation Classics will scarcely work for those who pursue contemplation as a spiritual practice, this four-disc set from Berlin Classics will serve quite well as relaxing background music for other purposes. What's nice about this collection is the thoughtfulness that went into preparing its program, for it not only provides more than four hours of peaceful selections that are suitable for quiet activities, it also presents many classical pieces that are off the well-worn path of popular favorites. Although most of the composers are familiar, including Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Antonio Vivaldi, Frédéric Chopin, Franz Schubert, Johannes Brahms, and many others, the works gathered here are seldom anthologized, and the slow movements taken from them will intrigue listeners who already own the top 20 greatest hits of classical music. The performances are tasteful and polished, and while the list of musicians offers no household names, the soloists, orchestras, and conductors are reputable artists based in Germany and regulars on Berlin Classics recordings. It's unlikely that audiophiles will seek this set out, but the sound quality is very good for such a package, and home listeners will find the volume quite evenly adjusted over the tracks.

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