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Many people find that music can help them with some types of meditation, particularly mindfulness meditation. The key is to choose pieces that are not a distraction. Here are a few suggestions.
Arvo Pärt: Spiegel im Spiegel
The Estonian composer's most popular piece is deeply calming. Its title translates as 'Mirror in the Mirror', making it most appropriate for a moment of reflection:
Jan Sandström: Det är en ros utsprungen
Sandström is known for his wild Motorbike Concerto for trombone, but this piece is altogether more ethereal, literally stretching out a work by 16th century German composer Praetorius into something celestial.
Max Richter: Dream 3 (in the midst of my life)
Taken from Richter's Sleep an eight hour long work, designed to accompany an entire night’s rest. If you can stay awake you’ll find it can equally bring deep serenity.
Debussy: Clair de Lune
The title to this beautiful, lilting piano piece translates as 'moonlight'. Debussy was inspired by a poem by Paul Verlaine, which begins, "Your soul is a chosen landscape..." That's worth meditating upon.
John Tavener: The Last Sleep of the Virgin
Tavener gave instructions to the performers of this piece to play very, very quietly “at the threshold of audibility.” Let those handbells resonate deep within your soul.
Morten Lauridsen: O Magnum Mysterium
A Christmas song telling the story of Christ's birth, Lauridsen’s 1994 choral masterpiece is a work of profound sensitivity and spirituality.
Thomas Newman: Any Other Name
Piano and atmospheric electronics combine to make this enervating piece from Newman's soundtrack to American Beauty a favourite among Classic FM listeners.
Charles Villiers Stanford: The Bluebird
Stanford’s setting of Mary Coleridge's poem is a miniature gem: the soaring soprano line lifts you into a transcendent realm.
Erik Satie: Gymnopedie No.1
For a brief few moments of mindfulness, try Satie's alternating progression of two major seventh chords - G and D. Sweet, melancholic and just the tonic.
Eric Whitacre: Lux Aurumque
Eric Whitacre’s touching piece is based on a short Christmas poem which reads, “Light, warm and heavy as pure gold, and the angels sing softly to the new born baby.” Simply sublime.
Philip Glass: Satyagraha, ’Evening Song’
Concluding where we began, in the world of minimalism, Philip Glass's haunting climax to his opera about Gandhi is pure musical mesmerism.