I remember vividly when I fell in love with Dvorak’s Serenade for Strings. I was driving home in the dark after a long day, and on a whim turned on the classical music station—to be swept up into a glorious symphony of sound that coaxed away my worries and soothed my soul. Entranced by the music, I kept driving around blocks and down streets to delay my arrival at home, and listened with bated breath to hear the inevitably-serene voice of the classical station announcer tell me the name of the piece and the orchestra that played it.
We all know that we should like classical music, but that “should” is usually a “should” on the order of “I should drink eight glasses of water a day” or “I should floss my teeth”—something we don’t want to do but make ourselves do. But that night listening to Dvorak’s Serenade for Strings reminded me of what it’s like to have a classical piece lift you out of yourself for a moment. What follows is a list of classical and unforgettable pieces, with the hope that one—if only one—will steal your heart away. With this playlist to get you started, perhaps you will start tuning in to the classical station just a bit more often.