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Study Music Playlist, 1.0

August 22, 2013

To all those who are about to study, we salute you. Everybody needs a little sanity when it’s time to hit the books. So here is our first release of music to study by: a musical decompression chamber for the homework burdened who may be alone in the test-prep wilderness.

  1. “Back to School: Study Montage,” by Danny Elfman, from Music for a Darkened Theatre
    O.K, this isn’t study music at all. But everybody in school needs to have a sense of humor, right? Play this while you’re gathering your number two pencils (or logging on).
  2. Movement 3 (Allegro) from Trumpet Concerto by Johann Christian Fasch. Niklas Eklund, trumpet, Drottningholm Court Baroque Ensemble.
    How do you make playing the trumpet even harder? Take away the valves. Bet this wasn’t recorded in one take.
  3. “Giga (Quadrilha Caipira)” (Movement 2 from Bachianas Brasileiras No. 7) by Heitor Villa Lobos. New World Symphony Orchestra, Michael Tilson Thomas.
    20th-century take on an 18th-century dance, Brazilian style.
  4. Movement 2 (Presto) from Piano Sonata in G Minor by Alexey Stanchinsky. Thomas Adès, piano.
    Some composers die before they have a chance to establish a reputation. Kudo to fellow composer Thomas Adès for recording this terrific piece.
  5. “Crepuscule with Nellie,” composed and performed by Thelonious Monk. The Essential Thelonious Monk
    One of the all-time jazz greats, his 70 compositions are all classics. Listen for the crunchy harmonies and impressionistic scales — oh wait, you’re supposed to be studying.
  6. “Final” from Sonata for Flute, Viola, and Harp, by Claude Debussy. Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields Chamber Ensemble, Skaila Kanga, harp.
    The birthday boy gets a shout out; a steady rhythmic base makes it really great study music.
  7. “Water,” Matmos with So Percussion, from the album Treasure State.
    Electronica duo Matmos teams with new music percussion group in this minimalist track, whose groove really gets into your brain and sticks there. You’ll still have room for your history facts. Love the water effects on this track.
  8. “Logon Rock Witch” by Aphex Twin. From the album Acoustica: Alarm Will Sound Plays Aphex Twin.
    New music group Alarm Will Sound turns the tables on electronica star Aphex Twin and plays his music on their classical, acoustic instruments. Still sounds great.

Michael Zwiebach is the senior editor/ content manager for SFCV. He assigns all articles and content, manages the writing staff and does editing. A member of SFCV from the beginning, Michael holds a Ph.D. in music history from the University of California, Berkeley.