Show #249: Music for Quiet Contemplation

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Today’s show features some lilting and blissful music that I’ve enjoyed over the years. Some of it is very quiet and uncompressed—perfect for meditation or relaxation. This music would be nice at home on a Sunday morning, or maybe even as a soothing soundtrack for a stressful commute. You decide.

We begin with one of Debussy’s book of Images, played by the young Korean pianist Seong-Jin Cho, who lives and breathes Debussy. It is music of wonder and repose.

Way back in1984, ECM released an album by violinist Michael Galasso with multiple layers and overdubs called Scenes. It is only one of three albums ever released by this artist, and I’ve always loved this particular scene, #6. Galasso has composed music for films such as Wong Kar-wai’s In the Mood for Love.


We hear a Bach piece next, specifically a movement from his Concerto for Oboe d’Amore, played by a wonderful baroque chamber group based in Toronto named Tafelmusik. The oboe d’amore is a relative of the regular oboe, but has a different timbre than the more familiar horn.

Pianist David Hazeltine recorded jazz versions of classical music in the next album that we sample from. Unlike many corny such jazz adaptations, he does an impeccable job, in this case with the Debussy classic “Clair de Lune.”

The late Geri Allen had a way with harmonies and was much in demand before her untimely death last year. I love the special touch she gave to Charles Lloyd’s ECM albums. Here she plays an amazing ballad by Billy Strayhorn and adds her magic to it.


Rhythm Planet Playlist for 2/9/18

  1. Seong-Jin Cho / “Images Book 1” /Debussy/ Deutsche Grammophon
  2. Michael Galasso / “Scene 6” / Scenes  / ECM
  3. Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra / “Concerto For Oboe D’Amore, 2nd Movement” / Concerti Virtuosi / Analekta
  4. David Hazeltine / “Clair de Lune” / Impromptu / Chesky Records
  5. Geri Allen / “Lush Life” / The Life Of A Song / Telarc
Banner image: Waikiki at sunset. Photo by Tom Schnabel.