Meditation music has gone mainstream
Prince Harry says he practises meditation every day and the normally abstemious Guardian recently published a healthy breaks supplement featuring a week's 'stillness and alignment retreat' on Ibiza costing £1,331 ($1715). As the usually buttoned-up Telegraph tells us, meditation has gone mainstream, which means YouTube now offers a copious selection of meditation music. A 2017 Overgrown Path post pointed out the yoga market in the US is worth $27 billion annually, which compares with a market for classical albums of less than $200 million. My post went on to suggest that grabbing just a small chunk of that $27 billion would solve a lot of classical music's funding problems.
Increasingly classical music is being sold as an entertainment medium, which inevitably takes it down the dumbing down route. So, although the purists will doubtless cringe, promoting classical music as a well-being tool is not such a bad idea. Because it both avoids the worst excesses of dumbing down and aligns the classical genre with the more legitimate but under-exploited discipline of music therapy. Linking classical music to enlightenment is, of course, not an original idea. Classic FM already lists the best music for mindfulness and yoga, and Spotify has a meditation music zone. But these lists are the usual predictable mixes of Arvo Pärt and Philip Glass interspersed with Satie and Debussy, plus the inevitable Max Richter.
So today I am proposing an alternative list of ten less-familiar works for incorporation into well-being practices. Additions (or dissensions!) are welcome. And before the naysayers let rip, please remember that a lot of people are using music as a well-being tool. If just one of them discovers the music of a composers on my list, that is job done.
John Luther Adams ~~ Become Ocean
Steve Roach ~~ Structures from Silence
Colin McPhee - Balinese Ceremonial Music played by Benjamin Britten and McPhee on two pianos
Arnold Bax ~~ Third Symphony: Epilogue, Poco Lento
Robert Rich ~~ Vestiges
Alan Hovhaness ~~ Symphony No. 2, Mysterious Mountain
Éliane Radigue ~~ L'Île Re-Sonante
Valentin Silvestrov ~~ Requiem for Larissa
Jonathan Harvey ~~ Curve with Plateaux for Cello Solo
Lou Harrison ~~ Piano Concerto: Third movement, Largo
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