Can someone suggest something fairly quiet, possibly baroque or classical, and preferably long, that I can be playing in the background as I knit? I have no musical background, so any suggestions will be much appreciated.
"Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme" (Sleepers Awake) -- the entire cantata by J. S. Bach! BWV 140. It's seven movements long and soft -- some of it gets to the forte level, but, interestingly enough the climax of the whole cantata -- the actual horns that wake the sleeping virgins is actually some of the gentlest parts of the whole thing.
Most people only know the climax movement, but, the whole Cantata is well worth it, and perfect to knit to.
Have you ever gone to pandora.com? My suggestion would be to put Bach, Beethoven, or Tchaikovsky into pandora and just let it play. Tchaikovsky is my favorite. Also...for the most relaxing my suggestions are Mozart or Mendelsohn.
PS I almost forgot to mention Claude Debussy. Definitely a good knitting choice. BTW for those of you that didn't know Petr Tchaickovsky was totally a fluffer :-)
...so was Bach -- despite the wife and children.
I have to agree, for someone who is not that big into computers and doesn't know what he wants, Pandora is a great idea. I would also suggest that in addition to all the great suggestions that others have listed, there are some modern bands that are doing some amazing things. On our drive from Oregon to Texas that my father and I are currently on I got my father (who mostly listens to country and 60's music) to really enjoy Coldplay, and even like some Tool. I also think that some long Trance music might be enjoyable. I don't really seek that kind of music out, but I have found it great for studying. Something by Oakenfold could be good, he pieces tend to be VERY long....like 15 hrs long. My other suggestions would be to get soundtracks to the movies/musicals you love and just play those. I sit and sing along as I knit. Will try to think of more on my four day drive back to Oregon next week.
I have gotten the Pandora thing going, and will plug your suggestions into it. Thanks, Andrew.
I would highly recommend a double cd set of the music of Sylvius Leopold Weiss performed by Lutz Kirchhof on baroque lute and therobo lute. It was released on the Vivarte/Sony label. The music is simply incredible. It is complex yet never overbearing, lending it well to both deep listening as well as subtle ambience. Sylvius was one of only several musicians ranging from the early renaissance to the early classical period that were honored by the title 'divine' among his peers.
You let go of it, it let go of you.
Great suggestion. Was not familiar with Weiss; went to the iTunes store and sampled several sonatas. Gonna add to my music to knit by! Thanks! -John
Well Albert, what kind of technology do you have? If you have an i-pod with a docking station you can play hours and hours of music just by pressing play. You have to load it all first but that's easy - you can buy and down load it all from i-Tunes. I'm a Mozart fan myself and love to listen to his operas, I'm also a Gilbert and Sullivan fan, not baroque or classical but great to knit to. My partner is partial to Pergolesi. This is not particularly quiet music - but do you want to fall asleep while knitting or what?
Technologywise, I currently have a coal-fired computer, though I understand that an internal combustion model is available now. As for i-pod, the only thing I know about pods is that you have to shuck them to get at the peas. I have some catching up to do.
If you want to break into the digital computer world without too much risk, I'd suggest eclassical.com. They don't require you to create an account, you can download mp3s (which can be played on most computers fairly easily and transferred or burned to CD's) and their prices are good. It's a bare-bones outfit (and limited), but if you find something you like, it's great.
Grace and Peace,
Albert, do look into an i-Pod or any mp3 type player. Downloading music to such a device is easy, less expensive and helps the enviornment by not wasting all tha packaging you get with a CD. They hold tons of music and you can organize it in different ways. You can use a docking device which runs he music through speakers or head phones which is nice if you want to block out ambiant noises. Don't be intimitated - they are pretty easy to use. If you have a ten year old in your life he/she will happily tutor you, lol.
I rather like the Bach Unaccompanied Cello Suites -- Yo Yo Ma created some very nice recordings some time ago and I love them.
I enjoy Bach's Coffee Cantata (BWV 211) and Mozart's Requiem as well as his Bassoon Concerto in B-flat (K 191), although they're not exactly relaxing. For relaxing, I'd suggest Bach's Harpsichord Inventions & Sinfonia's (although harpsichord is something of an acquired taste, some people find it jarring). Faure's Requiem (and Durafle's which is very similar) and the Moldau (by Smetena) are some of my favorites.
If you're willing to move beyond the baroque/classical/romantic music, but something a bit unusual, I'd also recommend "Lullabies from the Axis of Evil" and Jitro (a Czech children's choir).
JS Bach's Goldberg Variations, especially in a classic recording by the pianist Glenn Gould, are wonderful.
Also, *any* Mozart recording by Mitsuko Uchida. She has recorded many and they all are transcendent.
... making notes of many wonderful suggestions in this thread. Great question.
Some non-baroque options:
Serenades and Divertimenti for Winds - Amadeus Mozart
Nocturnes - Frederic Chopin
A Faust Symphonie - Franz Liszt
Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun - Claude Debussy
Pavane for a Dead Child - Maurice Ravel
Sea Symphony - Ralph Vaughan Williams
Gymnopédies - Eric Satie
The Carnival of the Animals - Camille Saint-Saens
Little Symphony for Winds - Charles Gounod
Serenade in D minor for Winds - Antonin Dvorak
Billy the Kid Suite - Aaron Copland
Appalachian Spring Suite - Aaron Copland
Adagio for Strings - Samuel Barber
Don Quixote - Richard Strauss
Symphony 1 & 2 - Howard Hanson
Just to name a few.
I like to mix it up so I don't knit myself into a trance or coma. Gavin Bryars "Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet", Philip Glass "Koyaanisqatsi" or "The Photographer", Laurie Anderson, "Mr Heartbreak", nearly anything from Peter Schickele (P. D. Q. Bach), Henrik Gorecki "Symphony #3; Symphony of Sorrowful Songs", Sprinkle liberally with some David Byrne/Brian Eno "My Life in the Bush of Ghosts", add a dash or two of Frank Zappa "We're Only In It for the Money", a slice or two of old Tim Curry tracks or some Beatles, Donovan, Mama Cass, Gustav Holst"The Planets", Dmitri Shostakovich "Festive Overture", Pour on some Daft Punk (anything by them). Set on "random" until done. Some bring on meditative states, others make me get up and move around (don't need the butt getting any flatter), some bring on the sing-along urges especially if no one's home, some have a good rhythm for counting stitches, a few to pick up a needle and conduct the orchestra, stretch the arms and fingers. Oh! Oh! Tchaikovsky! Sinatra! Andrews Sisters! Was-Not Was! Julee Cruise ... oh damn, there I go rambling again. That's what 4 hours sleep after a marathon knitting session will do.
Vivaldi every time for me. Well... that and classical guitar pieces. Good rhythm to keep fingers flying! ;)
talk to you soon...
This isn't classical, but it's very soothing and the tracks are long. Look into a group called "Stars of the Lid".
Couple examples on Youtube:
Bach's Goldberg and cello suites do it for me, but what about a continuous loop of the Adagietto from Mahler's 5th Symphony, or some of the transcendent music of contemporary Finnish composer Rautavaara (sp?)
How about something non baroque.....Gorecki's 3rd symphony (symphony of sorrowfull songs)?
Anything Bruckner is good
Handel's Rinaldo, it does have it's ehhh non-quiet bits but overal its gorgeous
'Why are you weeping? Did you imagine that I was immortal?'
I think Jason needs to come visit each of us and play Bruckner while we knit. That would be sublime.