We've decided this is the most relaxing music ever written

16 January 2018, 17:24

cat sleeping piano kitten

Listen to the world's most calming classical pieces for the perfect night...

It's been a day full of the stresses and strains of modern life, but now you're in bed and wanting to unwind into a peaceful night. Classical music has the power to instantly relax and transport you. With bed specialists Dreams, we've got these recommendations – with a bit of help from our Classic FM presenters...

Find your perfect bed with Dreams.co.uk

Berlin Song by Einaudi

The gentle, lyrical pianism of this Italian composer-pianist is an instant late-night winner and the perfect sound-world to ease the stresses of the day. Our weekday Smooth Classics host, Margherita Taylor, says: "Anything by Einaudi transports me to another world, where I can dream to my heart's content.' Listen to this and you'll see what she means:

Air on a G string by J.S. Bach

This perfectly poised movement comes from the Bach's Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D. It features one of the Baroque composer's finest melodies over a slowly pulsating accompaniment. As with all of Bach's music, you can listen to each line of the music as a melody of its own. As a moment of musical meditation, put this piece on at night, close your eyes and follow the notes of the bass line – and marvel at the way that it too is a beautiful melody. That's the genius of Bach.

Piano Concerto in A minor by Edvard Grieg

Evocative, rich and lyrical, the Norwegian composer's music is always very special – and his sole piano concerto is one of the finest pieces ever written for the instrument. Our Full Works Concert presenter Jane Jones says this work is "Healing, calming and reassuring all in one go. The moment when the piano finally comes in after the orchestra in the second movement is one of the most moving in all music with its sensation of utter relief."

Gymnopédie No. 1 by Erik Satie

Erik Satie was an absolute eccentric in life, and wrote some of the early 20th century's most sublime and visionary music. In his Gymnopédies, there's a wonderful sense of musical distillation: no note is extraneous; nothing is rushed, and everything feels just as it should be. It's almost impossible to hear them and not feel relaxed afterwards.

'Romeo & Juliet' by Craig Armstrong

Classic FM Requests presenter Anne-Marie Minhall says: "If there’s been a stressful journey home (pretty much the norm), I like to travel to a different place and listen to something like Craig Armstrong's big screen music from Romeo & Juliet or Nigel Hess's Piano Concerto played by Lang Lang. Piano music rules at home; sometimes nothing else will do whilst pondering over a crossword."

'Clair de lune' by Claude Debussy

This beautiful piece from his Suite Bergamasque is Debussy's evocation of moonight. The French impressionist composer was a master of pianistic colour, gentle melody and subtlety. There's a wonderful hint of jazzy harmony there too. There's so much to discover in Debussy's other piano music, but this is the piece for nighttime. Find a comfortable place, listen and imagine that glistening light of the moon.

Spiegel im Spiegel by Arvo Pärt

In Pärt's masterpiece Spiegel im Spiegel, a simple arpeggio on the piano is combined with a slow-moving melody line from the cello. The simplicity and stillness of the result is just divine. The title translates as 'mirror in the mirror', referring to a state of infinity. Hypnotically slow, the sparse accompaniment from the piano evokes perhaps the gentle drip of water or the tolling of a distant bell in the distance. We think this exquisite, other-worldly music provides the perfect soundtrack to lull you to sleep, as you relax in your place of warmth and comfort at night.

Wiegenlied by Johannes Brahms

This surely must be the most famous lullaby in the world, and you can't help but sing 'Go to sleep, go to sleep,' along with it. It's a beautiful Brahms tune (he did write such lovely melodies), and here's one of the world's greatest cellists to play it for you...