In honor of the official start of spring last week, I’m going full classical. I mean, this is partially because I need some soothing tones to calm me down after dealing with bullshit work stuff and with the stresses of a new class (hi, physiology!), but that’s only like a smidgen of why I’ve chosen a whole mess of happy tunes. Classical is actually one of the more common types of music I enjoy – there’s just something about being able to interpret the feelings you get from a song when you don’t have someone singing it at you – so I’ll probably do a lot more classical playlists in the future.
1 – “THE PASTORAL SYMPHONY” ~ LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN
As if I could go with anything else first. Minus the racist centaurs from the original Disney production, Fantasia. I remember seeing that version as a kid and felt very weird seeing these ugly caricatures of Black women – fawning over the white-presenting, much prettier ones – but I couldn’t put my finger on why it bothered me at the time. Now, I obviously do, but damn, I’m glad they removed that shit. Too bad it’s attached to one of my favorite musical pieces.
2 – “KINDERSZENEN” ~ ROBERT SCHUMANN
I could not for the life of me remember the name of this song, only that it appeared in a lot of old Looney Toons episodes in sad parts – like “ohhhh, what a world! Look at the terrible state of things!” – and it wasn’t until maybe five or so years ago that I ran across is on one of my classical music binges. It’s definitely not a lush like Beethoven (or even Vivaldi, below), but this is such a pleasant little song.
3 – “THEME FROM A SUMMER PLACE” ~ PERCY FAITH
This is literally the song that my brain starts playing when I tune someone out, a method of dealing with the constant antagonism that is customer service, and I’m not even mad about it. I absolutely love this song. Although this technically is related to the season following spring, I think it fits well with the sort of cheery feel I’m going with this playlist.
4 – “THE LARK ASCENDING” ~ VAUGHAN WILLIAMS
There is just something about stringed instruments that moves me. All of them: cellos, violas, violins ..
5 – “SPRING WALTZ” ~ FREDERICK CHOPIN
When I was taking piano lessons back in middle and high school, Chopin was one of my top five composers, and I can’t say that he’s necessarily been taken down a peg since then.
6 – “SPRING (LA PRIMAVERA)” BY ANTONIO VIVALDI
I guess I could have technically gone with Vivaldi’s “Spring” for the first entry in this playlist, but that would’ve been a little too on-the-nose in my opinion, even if Beethoven’s “Pastoral Symphony” was fairly similar in its on-the-noseness. It’s been only recently, but I’ve rediscovered Vivaldi – well, Baroque-style music in general (Jean-Baptiste Lully and Henry Purcell are two of my other faves) – after kind of forgetting he existed for about 15 years. Somehow. Vivaldi is just simply iconic and well-deserving of all his near-immortality-style iconic status.
7 – “MORNING WRITER CRAFT” ~ KATHRYN BOSTIC
Kathryn Bostic is such an incredible composer, and more people need to know everything about her. This is a short video, but you should 100% go and listen to the whole soundtrack by Bostic. Hell, every single thing she’s written, honestly. I spent almost an entire day listening and then relistening to her catalog – the most recent is for the movie Clemency, which, based solely on the promo images and the music, I am going to have to see. And that’s a powerful composer right there, honestly.
ETA: y’all, Clemency looks amaaaazing.
8 – “WINTER BOURNE” ~ CRIS DERKSEN
Again with freaking strings. I am obsessed with Cris Derksen, y’all. I love their dynamic take on classical music, blending their First Nations heritage with their classical training, and even though this is technically a winter song (it’s in the title), this could be in the background of any season.
9 – “CHANT DE LA SERINDE” ~ IFUKUBE AKIRA
Definitely more subdued than a lot of the others on here, this song always reminds me of strolling slowly through a Japanese cherry blossom forest. I need to listen to Ifukube more often, honestly.
10 – “THE BOTTOM LINE” ~ OLAFUR ARNALDS / JOSIN
I feel like Olafur Arnalds could literally be on any playlist that I create for “on rotation …” and even though this song has words on it, I feel like it fits the awakening of spring feel I’m going for here.