We are bombarded by music, all the time, whether we like it or not. In many cases—such as those almost daily, inescapable trips to the grocery store, drug store, pet store, what-have-you store—the musical accompaniment to our journey through life has been chosen specifically for its ability to make us buy things: However grating we may find the soft rock, lite pop, or easy listening that pumps out of pharmacy speaker systems, some sinister cabal of marketing researchers determined long ago that schmaltz equals sales. And so we endure yet another terrible pop song while waiting in line with our essentials. For people like myself—highly sensitive to sound and unable to tune out bad background music—the experience can be excruciating.
In our own private spaces—offices, cars, the space between our ears with headphones on—we become our own sound designers. We may prefer silence, or we may choose very specific kinds of music to accompany our leisure and our work (as we discussed in a few posts on music to write by some years back). These days, we can make our own digital playlists, grabbing music from all over the web, or we can have the algorithms of internet radio services like Pandora or Apple Radio curate our listening for us, a more—or sometimes less—satisfying experience. Lovers of classical music have a third online option, thanks to an enterprising digital curator who goes by the name of Ulyssestone and who compiled the Spotify playlist above of 58 hours of classical music — from Sibelius to Satie, Bach to Debussy. It’s designed for anyone who wants to study, work, or simply relax.
Ulysses has previously brought us a playlist of the enduringly classical music in Stanley Kubrick’s films and all of Mozart in a 127 hour playlist. As one music blogger put it, his interventions have made Spotify’s service “a whole lot easier for classical listeners.” See for yourself at Spotify Classical Playlists, where you’ll find blog posts on the changes to Spotify’s classical radio, as well as over 50 playlists dedicated to famous composers—“great starting points,” writes Ulysses, “for people who want to get into classical music or explore a bit more.” You can stream the 58-hour playlist of study-enhancing classical music (featuring 789 free tracks in total) by clicking this link, or streaming the player above. To download Spotify and start a free account, head on over to their site.