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Most of us have felt the benefits of music on our mood at some stage in our lives; be it attending a concert, or simply listening to our favourite tunes as we cook dinner, go for a walk, or drive to work. But scientific research has also repeatedly demonstrated how beneficial it is for our inner health and harmony: showing us that listening to music can measurably reduce anxiety, blood pressure and pain, as well as improve sleep quality, mood, mental alertness and even memory.

Whilst some music can require ‘active listening’, this playlist has been specifically curated for ‘passive listening’; helping you to provide a sense of inner peace and balance, with all the unique benefits of a peaceful meditation. It draws on music from numerous genres, nationalities and centuries, but all with the aim of creating a unified feeling of tranquillity and inner harmony. So, feel free to find a quiet spot to close your eyes and relax, or simply find a beverage of your choice and enjoy this musical meditation as a moment of peace in your day.

Arvo Pärt: Spiegel im Spiegel

One of Pärt’s most understated but beautiful works, performed in this case by Vadim Guzman on violin (who has, coincidentally, worked with MSO a number of times in the past).

JS Bach: ‘Largo’ from Sonata No.3 in C Major for solo violin BWV 1005, performed by James Ehnes

Another great friend of the MSO, James is one of the most stunning violinists we’ve had perform with us. I remember vividly his performance of this solo Bach work as an encore when he was out here once, and I’ve never experienced an audience so entranced.

Danish String Quartet: Waltz after Lasse in Lyby

An earlier folk album of the Danish String Quartet, who also put together a group of works in an album called ‘Last Leaf’ that I’ve performed in a quartet at the MSO for Secret Symphony and online on our YouTube channel in April 2020.

Olli Mustonen: Nonet No.2, Mvt 3 Adagio

This is on my wish list of works to perform one day, but I’ve been lucky enough to hear it performed. The entire work is breathtaking, but this central movement is utterly transporting - and for me is strongly reminiscent of the profound slow movement of Schubert’s String Quintet. We’ve worked with Olli as a piano soloist and composer numerous times in MSO and he’s a complete delight.

Luke Howard: Portrait Gallery

I’ve been lucky enough to know Luke as a pianist and composer for a long time, and played some of the string tracks on this beautiful album when it’s been performed live.

Michelle Wood's Music for Inner Harmony

Lior/Nigel Westlake: Compassion - Mvt 7 ‘Avinu Malkeinu’ (Hymn of Compassion)

I’ve known and worked with Lior since playing at the launch of his very first album back in 2004! He used to sing this beautiful hymn a capella at the end of some of his concerts, until he and Nigel orchestrated it for the incredible larger work ‘Compassion’ some years later. It’s incredibly moving, and MSO are performing it later this year in September!

Hans Zimmer: The Thin Red Line ‘Light’

Despite being known for scores such as Gladiator, Pirates of the Caribbean and Inception (amongst MANY others), this is my favourite soundtrack of Hans Zimmer. This track alone remained in my head for days after hearing it for the first time. It occurs at a moment in the film where the protagonists yearn to be transported away from the horrors of war, and this music still is a form of escape for me years after seeing it.

Fauré: ‘Sanctus’ from the Requiem

This work remains my favourite requiem, and also a movement that will forever bring me peace when I hear it.

Beethoven: Symphony No 9 Mvt (Choral Symphony) Mvt 3

The lesser known of the movements in this masterpiece, I’ll never forget hearing it for the first time realising it was in the same Symphony as the ‘Ode to Joy’. In the context of the symphony, it’s almost like a meditation before the huge choral finale, and is beautifully introspective.

Zoltan Kodaly: Esti Dal (Evening Song)

I stumbled across this beautiful little choral work because I’d once searched for Kodaly’s incredible Solo Cello sonata, and this came up on a list of ‘other’ works. It was definitely a happy accident as I’ve probably listened to it more than the Cello Sonata in the end! It’s absolutely stunning and so peaceful.

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