The beginning of a new decade is ample reason to celebrate. It's also the perfect time to reflect on the things we love and our hopes for the new year (or the next ten). This month's Instant Replay has songs for every mood!
This series highlights our favorite music of the moment – discoveries we’ve made when we’re at home cooking or cleaning, at the office, or out and about. Classical or otherwise, old, new, or just really cool, these are the tracks we’ve had on repeat this month. Find a cumulative playlist at the end of this post. Happy listening!
Dream Theater -- Scene Eight: The Spirit Carries On
January is always the perfect time to sink into some transportive music – it’s dark, it’s cold, and football playoffs provide more stress than you need. My go-to January band is Dream Theater, a progressive metal band that invariably blows everyone away. Now, even if you’re not a metal person, don’t worry – their music may be experimental, but it’s all built on classical foundations. This concept album is just the right balance of virtuosity and storytelling.
Yo-Yo Ma, Chris Botti -- Dona Nobis Pacem
I don’t know about you but I have never been so happy to see an old year go away. What I want for everyone are equal measures of Joy and Peace. Cue Yo-Yo Ma and friends' “Songs of Joy and Peace,” a favorite of mine from the day it was released almost a dozen years ago. I always give it a listen this time of year. They play holiday-themed music for Christmas, Hanukah, Eid al-Adha, Kwanzaa and New Year’s, plus five different renditions of Dona Nobis Pacem (Give Us Peace). That message is all.
Hop Along -- Sister Cities
It's no secret around the office that I'm not the biggest holiday music fan, so once we hit "holiday mode" and I find it difficult to listen to the radio for 8+ hours straight, I escape for an hour or so at a time into a peppy mix of Hop Along, Charlie Bliss, Robyn, Tune-Yards, etc. "Sister Cities" has been my favorite Hop Along song for about a year, and I have most definitely played it on repeat a few times in the past few weeks.
Kaamos Chamber Choir of Helsinki -- Byrd: Laudibus in sanctis
I maintain a growing list of "Once-A-Year Songs" - tracks that I only allow myself to listen to once in a blue moon, for fear that they'll somehow lose their magic - and I got a head start this year, listening to one of my all-time favorites in the early hours of the new decade. "Laudibus in Sanctis" by William Byrd is one of those oldies-but-goodies that somehow fills me with joy every time I listen to it: perfect for ringing in 2020. I might even have to break my once-a-year rule for this warm and expansive rendition by the Kaamos Chamber Choir of Helsinki.
The Wild Reeds -- Judgement
I recently had to take a last-minute 7+ hour train ride from Washington, D.C. to Boston (long story), and one of the only good things about it was that I discovered this album around the second hour. Ten great songs to get to know while I had literally nothing else to do -- this album saved my sanity, and this track in particular is a new favorite of mine.
Kristian Bezuidenhout, Mark Padmore -- Schubert: Winterreise: 24. Der Leiermann
Schubert’s “Winterreise” is a piece I return to time and again this time of year. Schubert knew he was dying when he wrote it (he was 31), and so it is imbued with a quiet resignation and sadness that drives straight to the soul. This final movement is hauntingly present, especially when performed on the instrument Schubert wrote this music for, the pianoforte.
Ready for more? Hear our cumulative playlist: