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Shelves may be groaning under the weight of the dozens of chillout/smooth/calm classical compilations available but they are going to have to make room for another, The Very Best of Relaxing Classics. A quick glance at the tracklisting reveals the usual suspects--Pachelbel's Canon in D, Barber's Adagio for Strings and the slow movement of Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No.2. But it's not all predictable. Liszt's Consolation No.3, a poignant piano miniature, is most welcome as is Elgar's Sospiri for strings, harp and organ. Many of the pieces have become well known by being used in films and television programmes as well as for adverts: witness the Intermezzo from Mascagni's opera Cavalleria rusticana (Raging Bull and Kleenex), "Morning" from Peer Gynt by Grieg (Nescafé), John Tavener's haunting choral piece The Lamb (Orange) and the glorious Adagio (although, sadly, only an extract) from Schubert's String Quint! et in C (Inspector Morse). Slightly puzzling is the inclusion of two versions of Puccini's much-loved "O mio babbino caro" from his opera Gianni Schicchi--an instrumental version provides the first track and the compilation concludes with the original (featuring the divine Renée Fleming). --Rebecca Agnew
Some absolutely timeless pieces of music. As a composer, it really sets the bar and reminds you to identify the achingly beautiful, melodic lines and to paint in glorious... Read morePublished 13 months ago by kieran macmanus