Press Play: “Sanctus” by Franz Schubert

Every piece in Schubert’s Mass in G is worth a listen, but none wakes up the congregation quite like the Sanctus.

Key moment: Few moments in choral music are as potent as the opening seconds of this piece. The contrary motion between the sopranos and basses gives the opening bars a level of power on par with the THX sound at the movies.

That makes me think of: The repeated eighth notes as the choir sings “pleni sunt coeli…” reminds me of the persistent, powerful rhythm of Politik” by Coldplay.

Andrew Moore is our blogger-in-residence, and author of the music blog Beautiful Song of the Week.”

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Press Play: “Kyrie” by Anton Bruckner


Some composers have streets named after them. Some have educational methods named after them. Most will get countless music schools or concert halls named in their honour. Anton Bruckner had a problem named after him.

Wikipedia sums it up this way:

The Bruckner Problem is a term that refers to the difficulties and complications resulting from the numerous contrasting versions and editions that exist for most of the symphonies of Anton Bruckner.

In other words, even when he finished something, he was never satisfied. He always wanted to tinker with it. It was never perfect.

If you’re nodding your head sheepishly, it’s okay. There’s probably a bit of Bruckner in all of us. And if there’s something you’re working on that’s perpetually short of perfect, I invite you to take seven and a half minutes away from it, stop obsessing for a short while, and enjoy the opening piece from Bruckner’s Mass in E minor.

Key moment: The layered voices that open the piece are so hypnotizing that the horns’ entrance at the 2-minute mark is an unexpected but welcome surprise.

That makes me think of: Those soft horns (and the voices, actually) remind me of the horns in Hengilas by Icelandic singer Jonsi.

Andrew Moore is our blogger-in-residence, and author of the music blog Beautiful Song of the Week.”

Press Play: “Evening Song” by Zoltan Kodaly

Last week’s piece was perfect for a slow wake-up; this week’s piece is perfect for the other end of the day.

Even if he had never done any composing, Zoltan Kodaly’s effect on music would have been significant. He was a musical philosopher, ethnomusicologist, educator…he put in many days of hard work in an effort to make music better.

So the next time you put in a hard day’s work, a day when you feel like your effort has been Kodaly-ish, put yourself to sleep with this wonderful, soothing evening song.

Key moment: The basses hold the root of the chord from 1:42 almost straight through to the end, while the other voices find interesting intervals around them. It’s like the way your mind wanders around a single thought as you slowly drift off to sleep.

That makes me think of: Few songs can send me into a blissful sleep as easily as “His Majesy King Raam” by Lemon Jelly.

Andrew Moore is our blogger-in-residence, and author of the music blog Beautiful Song of the Week.”

Press Play: “Morgensang” by Niels Gade

This piece is a perfect song for a slow wake-up.

It begins quietly, with each instrument gently prodding your shoulder, asking you if you’d like it to make you some tea. Soon the choir enters, largely in unison, singing the lyrics of Dutch poet Bernhard Ingemann, describing the sunlight spreading over the world. Then, about two minutes in, the choir reaches its first forte; a polite reminder that you really should get out of bed now. But even that seems tentative, and it lasts just a few seconds before closing the bedroom door and retreating back to piano.

Key moment: At 2:30, it’s really time to wake up. The choir begins another louder section, the smell of bacon has made its way upstairs and now you’re ready to start your day.

That makes me think of: There are a lot of great “morning” songs out there, but most of them are a bit too high-energy for me. “Here Comes The Sun” is one of the more gentle ones that comes to mind.

Andrew Moore is our blogger-in-residence, and author of the music blog Beautiful Song of the Week.”