Various Artists

Reflections: Classical Music for Meditation

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Even though Reflections: Classical Music for Meditation happens to be a decent compilation of orchestral, chamber, and keyboard music from the Baroque and Romantic periods, one has to wonder why there is no list of credits -- usually a sign of mediocre workmanship for which no one wants to be blamed. As it is, the performances here are respectable and sometimes quite a bit better than that, drawn as they are from Denon's catalog, and the all-digital sound quality is a cut above what may be found on many budget compilations. In the end, though, the supposed purpose of this CD may be its most questionable aspect: would anyone really use a disc like this for meditation? While the music overall is quite gentle and pleasant, and perfectly suited for casual listening, relaxation, or as background music for various activities, this program as a whole may be ill-suited to contemplative purposes, partly because the pieces are so familiar (and likely to provoke a response of recognition every few minutes); but most importantly because the instrumentation, dynamics, textures, and activity levels change at every track. This variety inadvertently creates a feeling of tension and expectation that seems inappropriate for meditation. So Reflections may be worth a try -- at the budget price, how can you go wrong? -- but it may be better appreciated as a beginner's classical sampler than as a soundtrack for deep thoughts.

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