First Music of the Morning

by Bob Schwartz

Penguin Cafe Orchestra

I don’t listen to music very first thing in the morning. There’s quiet, until I start making breakfast.

And then, in the kitchen, it’s finding the right music, le musique juste. Here is a very small sample from the list. All are very short, all without words or voices.

Penguin Cafe Orchestra, Perpetuum Mobile

This is what joy sounds like. Who doesn’t need a little unconditional unmitigated joy? Top of the list.

Bill Evans, Peace Piece

This may seem a little too laid back for trying to get energized. It is low-key and lovely, until Evans throws in some equally low-key jazz dissonance. Just enough to remind us that if we are able, the day can have plenty of the peace we want, but there’s bound to be a few strident notes—all of which can be resolved.

Aaron Copland, Fanfare for the Common Man

If you believe you are about to conquer your day, or conquer the world, this is your anthem—whether you are a common or uncommon person. You can take on anything. Caustion: Do not mix with too much espresso.

Erik Satie, Trois Gymnopedies: Gymnopedie No. 1

Erik Satie called what he wrote “furniture music,” meaning it was just there, but not at all unuseful, unstyled, unformed or uncreative. Minimalist music and ambient music are its descendants (not to be confused with elevator music, which is unuseful, unstyled, unformed and uncreative). This is about two minutes of the finest furniture you can sit on to start your day.

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