Originally posted on Isham Cook:
Hit your pause button for the day, slow down, clear your head. Splurge on a bottle of good Bordeaux and listen to some music to match, like the opening track of the recording pictured at right, the master harpsichordist Gustav Leonhardt (1928-2012) playing a pavan in A minor by the English Renaissance composer William Byrd (ca. 1543-1623). I could have come up with countless other examples of music as beautiful as this (including tracks on the same CD), but there is no music more beautiful than this. Now, let me reiterate that I am not singling out this piece by Byrd as the greatest thing ever composed; only that like any music of the top caliber, of which it is but one instance, there is a concentration of talent and energy resulting in a perfectly realized, diamond-like creation that cannot be improved upon in any way. “How do you know this?” I am typically asked. Music appreciation is a highly subjective affair, and we all of course have our favorites. You simply have to trust that I speak from long acquaintance with Western music, and with that comes a refined discriminating faculty.