Our mental and emotional demands that we take time occasionally to restore ourselves: to calm down, to reflect and to rest.
- Aleksandr Deyneka, Day Off (1949)
- Umberto Boccioni, The Laugh (1911)
- Claude Monet, Bathers at La Grenouillére (1869)
- Isaack van Ostade, Children Playing in a Barn (1639)
Music: Composers, artists, and major works
Tommy Dorsey led a big band but his lead trombone, coupled with his soothing arrangements, infused his music with a sense of restfulness.
- a signature Dorsey piece, “I’m Getting Sentimental Over You.”
- with Duke Ellington in 1946'
- compilations of songs
- Much of Benny Carter’s later work, including the following albums: “Jazz Giant”, “Swingin’ in the 20s”, “My Kind of Trouble”, “Elegy in Blue”, “In the Mood for Swing”, “Wonderland” and “Additions to Further Definitions”
- The gloriously enjoyable music of Ernie Carson and the Castle Jazz Band: “At the Hooker’s Ball”, “Pretty Little Lady from Beaumont, Texas”, “One Beer” (with the Goose Hollow Gang) and “Hello Horn!” (Ernie with Rick Fay and Friends)
- Sibelius, Symphony No. 6 in D minor, Op. 104 (1923), offers pause and spiritual refreshment “after the heroism of the fifth”. “Sibelius wrote that the work reminded him of “the scent of the first snow”. It could well be called a lyrical fantasy. Top recordings were conducted by Karajan in 1967, Berglund in 1986, Salonen, Vänskä in 2016 and Mäkelä in 2021.
- An old saying holds that if your occupation is your joy, then you never work a day in your life. Sibelius’ Symphony No. 3 in C major, Op. 52 (1907), is about the pleasure of making music. Top performances are conducted by Kajanus in 1932, Barbirolli in 1970, Davis in 1977, Maazel in 1992, Jansons in 1996, Berglund in 1998, Vänskä in 2016, Martin in 2018, Mäkelä in 2021, and Rouvali in 2022.
- Borodin, Petite Suite (1885)
- Carl Friedrich Abel, 6 Sonatas for Viola da Gamba & Bass, WK 141-146 (ca. 1771), as on this album by Marco Casonato.
- Steven Halpern, “Sleep Soundly” (2003) (70’) and “Sleep Soundly, Vol. 2” (2017) (73’)
- Joseph van Hassel, “As Before: Solo Percussion Music of David MacBride” (2021) (56')
- Matthew Shipp, “Zero” (2018) (45') (emptying the cup)
- George Colligan, “King’s Dream” (2022) (67’): “‘In this challenging era and complex world in which we live, we have to believe that good will and enlightenment will prevail over ignorance and hatred,’ Colligan writes in the album’s liner notes. ‘I don’t know whether music can make a difference, but I dedicate my album to those who believe in, as drummer Al Foster would say, ‘Peace, Love, and Jazz.’”
Here is a video presenting eight hours of simple relaxing music, unmarred by excessive New Age gimmickry (OK, there is that chirping bird and the bell). This is music to turn off your mind by. Don’t expect much forward movement, just relax.
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
[Robert Frost, “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening”.]
Music: songs and other short pieces
- Paul Simon, “Was a Sunny Day”
- Franz Schubert (composer), Der Winterabend (The Winter Evening), D. 938 (1828) (lyrics)
- Mike McCormack, Solar Bones: A Novel (Soho Press, 2018): “Where modernism took a world that appeared to be whole and showed it to be broken, ‘Solar Bones’ takes a world that can’t stop talking about how broken it is, and suggests it might possibly be whole.”
- Lisa Harding, Bright Burning Things: A Novel (HarperVia, 2021): “To avoid losing Tommy, she checks herself into rehab. Harding doesn’t romanticize the bleak institution where Sonya spends 12 weeks in detox and recovery, imbuing it instead with the gravity of a space to land and heal.”
- Stephen Markley, The Deluge: A Novel (Simon & Schuster, 2023): “Confronts the Scale and Gravity of Climate Change”.