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Musical Fruit

Chris Anderson asked recently for recommendations of “knock-your-socks-off-gorgeous instrumental music.” I’m always a bit wary of a steady diet of “knock-your-socks-of-gorgeous” music, but there certainly is a place for some lighter music now and then in between regular meals!

So here’s what I offered. Actually, most of this is what I would consider fruit: very accessible (and yummy!), but also quite healthy.

Most of these are available for Amazon download or at least have audio samples.

Bolero & Other Classical Blockbusters – Canadian Brass

Britten: The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra; Simple Symphony, etc. – London Symphony Orchestra

Children’s Classics: Prokofiev, Saint-Saëns, Britten

Ancient Dances and Airs for Lute

Christopher Parkening – Elmer Berstein: Concerto for Guitar

Classic Yo-Yo

Copland Greatest Hits

Henry V Soundtrack

Amadeus: The Complete Original Soundtrack

Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition; Night on Bald Mountain

Paris – La Belle Époque – Yo-Yo Ma

Classic Perlman: Rhapsody

Roses and Solitude

John Rutter/Distant Land The Orchestral Collection

Schindler’s List soundtrack

Sense and Sensibility Soundtrack

Summon the Heroes – John Williams

The Ultimate Relaxation Album

Intimate Inspiration – the very best of The Amadeus Guitar Duo

Williams on Williams (Music from the Films of Steven Spielberg)

American Journey – Williams

Yo-Yo Ma Plays Ennio Morricone

Yo-Yo Ma Plays The Music of John Williams

99 Perfectly Relaxing Songs

Scott Aniol

About Scott Aniol

Scott Aniol is the founder and Executive Director of Religious Affections Ministries. He is Chair of the Worship Ministry Department at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he teaches courses in ministry, worship, hymnology, aesthetics, culture, and philosophy. He is the author of Worship in Song: A Biblical Approach to Music and Worship, Sound Worship: A Guide to Making Musical Choices in a Noisy World, and By the Waters of Babylon: Worship in a Post-Christian Culture, and speaks around the country in churches and conferences. He is an elder in his church in Fort Worth, TX where he resides with his wife and four children. Views posted here are his own and not necessarily those of his employer.

11 Responses to Musical Fruit

  1. Scott,
    I would (in all sincerity) be interested in how you justify in your mind recommending soundtracks to movies about horrendously immoral people and which contain graphic nudity while still holding to the principles that you teach on your site. There seems to be a disconnect somewhere.

  2. Not exactly sure what you're talking about, but I evaluate music for its intrinsic qualities.

  3. I got the impression that it was much more than that. Because if it was solely based on intrinsic quality, it would seem that your acceptance of music would be much broader than you are portraying it to be. Maybe you could define intrinsic quality and that would help. Does the music of a godless composer of 400 years ago have more intrinsic quality than the music of a God-fearing, equally talented musician of today? Or is it just that the rock music of the past 60 years or so is of such poor quality that it is inappropriate? Is your standard really just based on intrinsic quality? I guess that just seems dishonest. That or just arrogant.

  4. By judging music simply by its intrinsic qualities, I am asking the question, "What does this music communicate all by itself, apart from context, composer's lifestyle, composer's intent, etc?" If I judge the music to communicate noble messages, then I may listen to it.

    I use the same criteria for old music and new music. There was good old music and there is good new music. There was bad old music and there is good new music.

    There are, of course, situations in which I may abstain for various reasons as well.

  5. Ahhh, and that is where we will have to disagree. I believe it is impossible to honestly judge any music without knowledge of context, composer's lifestyle, composer's intent, etc. That is unless you are simply judging based on preference. In that case, the judgment is either of little value.

  6. Such judgments based on intrinsic communication is quite because music shapes the moral imagination and affections. To be unwilling to make such judgments is to leave one's moral and affective life unguarded, something dangerous indeed.

  7. Scott, thank you for this terrific list of classical music!

    Could you please elaborate on why you are a bit wary of "a steady diet of 'knock-your-socks-of-gorgeous' music"? Also, It's not quite clear to me if you are suggesting that list constitutes such music, or if these suggestions help to avoid such a diet. They certainly are 'lighter' pieces, for the most part, but would you recommend against a steady diet of them?

    Thank you!

  8. Bobmo, as I understood it, what Chris was asking for was kind of large, romanticized music with sweeping melodies and melodramatic orchestration. That kind of music may have a place now and then, but in my estimation its pretty manipulative emotionally. Again, that's not necessarily a bad thing, but we can become addicted to it, and begin to view all of life and love that way. Remember, music shapes our affections.

    I think some of what I suggested may fall into that category, but much of it is just more accessible music that is also very good, I think. I wouldn't fully diet on this stuff, either. I view it as fruit, and I couldn't live on just fruit. I need other nutrition.

    And, I wouldn't offer these dishes at the weekly banquet for my King, either! :)

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