Press Play: “Hymne A La Nuit” by Jean-Philippe Rameau

Working the night shift is probably not a bucket-list item for most people. But if you ever get the chance to take on a nocturnal schedule, it’s actually kind of cool.

Okay, I wouldn’t want to do it for long, but one summer when I was a student, I spent two weeks working from midnight to 8am in a mail room. It was awesome for many reasons; the pay was relatively good, the people I worked with were extremely interesting, and leaving the house late at night made me feel a bit like Batman.

But most awesome was my “lunch” break. Somewhere between 4 and 5am, I would leave the building and have a sandwich on a bench across the street, and they were the most peaceful, eerily quiet lunch breaks I’ve ever had. It felt like all of downtown was my break room.

Jean-Philippe Rameau was a famously private, quiet person. (He apparently never told his wife anything about his childhood.) I think he would have enjoyed the peace of a midnight lunch, and perhaps that’s why he wrote this wonderful night-time anthem.

Key moment: In the piece’s final 30 seconds, the choir hums the melody, as if afraid to wake the audience.

That makes me think of: The delicate voices and calm vibe remind me of another great night-time song, “Lullaby” by Hayden.

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

Press Play: “Dies Irae” by Hector Berlioz

Some composers like minimal arrangements. Others like to go all out. And then there’s Hector Berlioz.

If the Super Bowl had been around in the 19th century, Berlioz’ music would feature at halftime. In 1844, he conducted a concert in Paris that featured no fewer than 1022 musicians. Trying to aptly describe the experience of listening to his Requiem, the Daily Telegraph compares it to “crawling around an ocean floor”. This is big music.

Key moment: He likes big, but he does subtle nicely too. The quieter middle section of this piece, beginning at 2:28, is like the tantalizing few moments in a fireworks display when you know the finale is coming up.

That makes me think of: The flat-out bigness of “Genesis” by another French musical act: Justice.

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

Press Play: “O Maria Maris Stella” by William Hawley

I’ve never done any significant travel by sea. But neither have most people, really. Part of me would like to go back to the days when crossing the Atlantic meant spending a week aboard a huge floating city with thousands of others.

Such a long trip would require a long (and preferably water-themed) playlist, of course. This piece, whose title translates to “Mary, Star of the Sea”, would be a good one for an evening on board when the weather is good and the seas are calm.

Key moment: The sudden swell from piano to a gentle but self-assured mezzo-forte at 1:45 has something very ocean-esque about it.

That makes me think of: Billy Corgan’s post-Smashing Pumpkins project, a band called “Zwan”, had a song of their own called Mary, Star of the Sea, and its first few minutes evoke the same calmness as Hawley’s piece.

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

Press Play: “The Heavens Are Telling” by Franz Joseph Haydn

Apart from being a long-lived and prolific composer, Haydn had a great sense of humour. As a teenager, he was a chorister in St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna. Until, that is, he decided to snip off the ponytail of a fellow chorister. The prank got him yelled at, caned, and kicked out of the choir.

His love for pranks extended into his compositions as well. He would often insert brief pauses in his music to try to catch the audience out, to see if he could make them begin applauding too early. This webpage gives some good examples of his musical prankery.

Key moment: The expectant pause at 2:12 sounds like it was more for dramatic effect than humourous effect. Either way, it’s a great attention-grabber.

That makes me think of: The Foo Fighters are also known for their humour. Eleven seconds into their song, “Monkey Wrench”, there is a Haydn-esque pause that might make unsuspecting listeners think their computer has frozen.

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