“I am thrilled that the classical pieces that inspired me while I wrote the Fifty Shades Trilogy are being brought together in one collection for all lovers of the books to enjoy.” – E L James
Fifty Shades of Grey
The Classical Album
There has always been a dark side to Classical music. As far back as the 16th Century, the Catholic Church placed a ban on music it considered too sensual, fearing it would corrupt listeners and lead them away from the righteous path. Yet even with the ban in place, pieces such as Thomas Tallis’ Spem in Alium, with its spiraling vocal lines and enveloping harmonies, proved that music still had the power to ensnare audiences in its alluring web. The Baroque era brought a gilded elegance to its music, with the languid, gradually-unfolding lines of Bach’s keyboard compositions, or the warmth and stately grace of Pachelbel’s Canon in D. But even though the surface seemed polished and proper, the pulsing rhythms and dark-hued harmonies still hinted that there was more going on underneath … During the Romantic era, Classical music grew emotionally-charged and unfettered in its attraction. Whether it was the lush, sweeping vocal melody of Delibes’ ‘Flower Duet,’ the alluring mystery of a Chopin nocturne, or the torrid anguish of Verdi’s La traviata, this music made love into something larger than life, something for the world to see. The 20th century brought music back down to the human scale, and with it came a more personal picture of love, longing and fulfillment. The twisting, snaking sound of Villa-Lobos’ Cantileña, the swelling sense of longing in Canteloube’s Baïlèro, the delicate innocence of Debussy’s La Fille aux cheveux de lin … here the music moves from naïveté to passion to danger and back again without a second glance. These fifteen pieces of music, from past to present day, trace the winding paths of love and pleasure and take the listener on a journey into the depths of desire.
LÉO DELIBES 1. Lakmé: Flower Duet – 3.29 Mady Mesplé soprano Danielle Millet mezzo-soprano Paris Opéra-Comique Orchestra Alain Lombard P 1971 EMI France. Digital remastering P 1987 EMI France.
Gentle, lilting vocal lines – sung in harmony by two female voices – describe the sensation of drifting down a river in springtime, with birds singing and clouds floating overhead. JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH 2. Keyboard Concerto in D Minor BWV 974: Adagio – 3:58 Alexandre Tharaud piano Les Violons du Roy Bernard Labadie P 2011 EMI Records Ltd./Virgin Classics.
A wrenching, dissonant intro dissolves into a haunting, haunted melody in the piano which seems to twist and turn around the relentless backing chords. HEITOR VILLA-LOBOS Bachianas brasileiras No. 5 3. Aria (Cantileña): Adagio – 6.05 Barbara Hendricks soprano Cellos of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Enrique Bátiz P 1986 La Secretaria de Educación Pública de México under exclusive license to EMI Records Ltd.
A sensual, wordless song gives way to a cello solo before the singer returns to sing wistfully about watching day fade into night.
GIUSEPPE VERDI 4. La traviata: Prelude – 3.51 Philharmonia Orchestra Riccardo Muti P 1982 EMI Records Ltd.
Following a sweeping introduction in the strings, the slowly swaying dance rhythm supports an elegant tune through several variations. JOHANN PACHELBEL. 5. Canon in D – 4.56 Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Sir Neville Marriner P 1974 EMI Records Ltd. Digital remastering P 1997 by EMI Records Ltd.
This timeless piece features a repeated bass line with increasingly complex and rhythmic musical lines coming in on top, until it reaches the famous climactic violin line. THOMAS TALLIS 6. Spem in alium – 9.43 The Tallis Scholars directed by Peter Phillips P 1985 Original sound recording made by Gimell Records (www.gimell.com) under license to EMI Music North America.
This 16th Century motet for 40 separate voices creates an epic, extraordinary soundscape – constantly shifting, blossoming and retracting, and reaching levels of force and complexity that are simply overwhelming in scope.
FRÉDÉRIC CHOPIN 7. Prélude Op. 28, No. 4 in E minor – 1.42 Samson François P EMI Music France. Digital remastering P 1995 by EMI Music France.
A dark-hued melody which creeps in the shadows before coming to rest over a series of chords. SERGEI RACHMANINOFF Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor Op. 18 8. Adagio sostenuto – 4.30 Cécile Ousset piano City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra Sir Simon Rattle P 1984 EMI Records Ltd.
Swelling chords lead to a soft piano arpeggio, with a flute delivering a floating, wistful melody overtop. RALPH VAUGHAN WILLIAMS Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis 9. Opening – 6.11 London Philharmonic Orchestra Sir Adrian Bout P 1976 EMI Records Ltd. Digital remastering P 1985 by EMI Records Ltd.
An exotic and windswept series of themes build to a stirring climax before gradually fading back into silence.
TRACK LISTING JOSEPH CANTELOUBE Chants d’Auvergne 10. Baïlèro – 6.39 Arleen Augér soprano English Chamber Orchestra Yan Pascal Tortelier P 1988 EMI Records Ltd./Virgin Classics.
Horns, strings, woodwinds and a piano rustle with a pastoral beauty while a soprano sings a song of longing for a shepherd across the river. FRÉDÉRIC CHOPIN 11. Nocturne No. 1 in B flat minor Op. 9 – 5.12 Samson François P 1966 EMI Music France. Digital remastering P 1995 EMI Music France.
A melody in the right hand of the piano snakes around, speeding up and slowing down, swelling and ebbing before dying away. GABRIEL FAURÉ Requiem Op. 48 12. In Paradisum – 3.26 José-Luis Garcia violin Peter Barley organ King’s College Choir, Cambridge English Chamber Orchestra Stephen Cleobury
JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH Goldberg Variations BWV 988 13. Aria – 3.03 Maria Tipo piano P 1986 EMI France.
An understated, florid melody winds around a delicate accompaniment, shifting from major to minor and back again. CLAUDE DEBUSSY Préludes – Book I 14. La fille aux cheveux de lin – 2.35 Dame Moura Lympany piano P 1991 EMI Records Ltd.
Filled with a gentle longing, this piece evokes a young girl with long, golden hair swaying in the breeze. JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH (transcribed by Myra Hess) Cantata BWV 147 15. Jesu, joy of man’s desiring – 3.30 Alexis Weissenberg piano P 1976 EMI France. Digital remastering P 1994 by EMI Records Ltd.
A stately, warm and peaceful melody flows out, alternating between counterpoint and chords as it speaks of brotherly love and harmony.
P 1989 EMI Records Ltd.
A choir sings with celestial beauty of the peace and beauty in heaven following a life of earthly suffering.
Official Website: www.GreatestClassical.com/FiftyShades www.Facebook.com/FiftyShadesClassical www.Twitter.com/FiftyClassical www.YouTube.com/GreatestClassical
This compilation p2012 Capitol Records. – 509999 78466 5 9 – STEREO ADD-DDD – Manufactured by Capitol Records, 150 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10011. Unauthorized reproduction is a violation of applicable laws. All Rights Reserved. Printed in USA. Liner notes: Andrew Ousley CD art direction and design: Gordon H Jee FIFTY SHADES OF GREY by E.L. James © 2011 Fifty Shades Ltd. Cover © Random House, Inc., photo by Papuga 2006
Fifty Shades of Grey - The Classical Album Liner Notes