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5 classical pieces to get you through the polar vortex

Editorial Staff

Polar vortex. The very words strike fear in the hearts of Canadians, many of whom have been in the grips of one this winter.

Of course, as Canadians, we also have excellent coping mechanisms. Here at CBC Music, ours include mitts (warmer than gloves!), hot beverages and soothing music.

These five classical pieces will help make the deep freeze bearable.

'The Snow is Dancing,' Claude Debussy

This piece from Debussy's Pour le piano is a musical depiction of a snowfall, best viewed, as we all know, from the inside, looking out.

2nd movement from Symphony No. 1 ('Winter Dreams'), Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Born in Votkinsk, and later living in Saint Petersburg and Moscow, Tchaikovsky was no stranger to the polar vortex. The wistful second movement of his "Winter Dreams" symphony somehow seems impervious to cold.

'Allegro amabile' from Clarinet Sonata in E-flat Major, Johannes Brahms

Brahms completed this sonata in the summer of 1894 at a mountain retreat in Austria. (Doesn't that sound nice?) There's nothing overtly wintery about its first movement, but the introspective quality of the clarinet will make you feel OK about staying indoors.

'Winter 3,' Antonio Vivaldi/Max Richter

A few years ago, Max Richter "recomposed" Vivaldi's Four Seasons and topped the classical charts. There's a danceable pulse in his take on the third movement of Vivaldi's "Winter," which could at least get you moving in your seat if the trek to the gym is just out of the question.

'Solveig's Cradle Song' from Peer Gynt, Edvard Grieg

You've got chapped lips, your knee has been sore since you went down on the sidewalk, and you've basically accepted "hat head" as your new hair style. It's hard to hold it together when the polar vortex moves in. This lullaby from Grieg's Peer Gynt takes the sting out of being a winter wreck.


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