“Music hath charms to sooth the savage breast,” William Congreve wrote in 1697, an era when “music” meant symphonic, orchestral and chamber compositions from the likes of Handel, Vivaldi and Bach. Classical music has been especially useful in keeping the nerves calm and the spirit lifted during times of stress.

So I asked Steve Ahearn, clarinetist for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, to compile a playlist. He chose smaller chamber pieces that show off what the clarinet can do. “The ‘Gran Partita’ [Mozart’s Serenade No. 10 in B-flat] is mayyybe the greatest piece [of music] ever written,” he says.

You can access it here, via Spotify. All make for beautiful listening. Enjoy, discuss and most of all… relax!

— Arnold Wayne Jones