Top Five Music Selections For Your Workday

Thursday, August 16, 2012

There’s good news for anyone who likes to surround themselves with music at their desks: a study has shown that people who do listen to music at work are more productive. However, not all music inspires the thought process equally, so we gathered five suggestions that might just help you make it to quitting time.

1. Anything Bach

Citing the Workplace Doctors, the website Lifehacker suggests tuning into your baroque collection for some pleasurable listening while toiling away at daily duties. And who better than Bach — the most influential of all Western composers — to provide a daily soundtrack. His prodigious output alone would keep you well stocked with tunes for months. However, a good recording of the Brandenburg Concertos should get your creative juices flowing.

2. Mozart's Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major

No composition in the classical cannon has been more tested to see its cognitive effects than Mozart’s Sonata for Two Pianos in D major. While listening to the pieces probably won’t make you any smarter, they do seem to inspire people to feel more able and more confident. And who are we to argue?

3. Steve Reich's The Cave

Let’s face it: Most of us are sitting around at our computers with our fingers flying over a keyboard all day. Thank goodness New York–based Steve Reich composed a piece just for this instance: Typing Music. The work, a percussion track created using an amplified keyboard, has been incorporated into Reich’s opera The Cave, which tells the story of Abraham from the Old Testament.

4.Richard Strauss's Ein Heldenleben

For inspiration on those tough tasks, it’s hard to beat Richard Strauss’s Ein Heldenleben (A Hero’s Journey). The tone poem illustrates the protagonists tale as he encounters his adversaries, fights them in battle, emerges victorious and then retires as peace is restored. It’s a plotline that all workers can aspire to.

5.Magnus Lindburg's Kraft

The noise of the city can either be distracting, but its rhythms and energy are also invigorating. Magnus Lindberg’s seminal work Kraft taps into that power (Kraft does mean strength in German) of the industrialized metropolis. “The noise of traffic, or the demolition and construction of buildings all means something — and I wanted these elements to be present,” Lindberg told the New York Philharmonic, upon it’s 2010 New York premiere.

More in:

Comments [3]

Yes! Anything Bach (and, by any Bach...)

Aug. 19 2012 11:02 PM

When I was a full-time student, the one CD I could just leave on repeat guaranteed to increase my focus without fear of distraction was Wendy Carlos' "Beauty In the Beast." It might seem more New Age than Classical to some, but it's never repetitive, monotonous or too relaxing (as is most "well-intentioned" New Age music). Your ear, however, may take a while to adjust to her perfect tuning system.

Top Track: "Just Imaginings"

Aug. 17 2012 07:25 PM
Mat Dirjish from New York, NY

For the day Beethoven's Waldstein piano sonata, Stravinsky's Petrouchka, and Bach's Brandenburg Concertos. After work, Six Chansons by Paul Hindemith and Lux Aeterna by Morten Lauridsen. Of course, there's more!

Aug. 17 2012 12:30 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

The WQXR e-newsletter. Show highlights, links to music news, on-demand concerts, events from The Greene Space and more.

Follow WQXR 







About Top 5 @ 105

WQXR helps you make the most of the New York City’s classical music scene.

Our "Top 5 at 105 " features can't-miss experiences: the best concerts, books and films about music, places to eat before and after shows, and more.