I already mentioned what background music (or sounds) I like when I am coding. In that list, I included classical music. I know classical is not exactly a favorite. Not in my field, at least. I suspect the vast majority of people disregard it in advance, not really knowing what they’re missing out on, just because, well, you know, it’s dinosaurs stuff. If you are among them, you should reconsider and repent your sins. But have no worries, and rejoice, for I am here to save your soul.

Zachary Woolfe, The New York Times’s classical music editor, has been working on Five Minutes To Make You Love Classical Music. This remarkable project aims at “hooking readers on classical music, five minutes at a time.”

Once a month online, about 15 musicians, pop-culture figures and Times writers and editors each select the piece they would play for a friend tied to a theme, be it an instrument, composer, genre or voice type. The series aims to make classical music accessible to readers as a Top 40 track […]. You don’t need to know the difference between a cadenza and a concerto. “It’s about pure pleasure and exploration.” (source)

I find this project interesting for many reasons, the main one being the variance of choices and themes. Picks are often excellent and not obvious. This is, I think, because of the wide range of people involved with the selections. You may have Yo-Yo Ma suggest a Concerto for the Cello installment, and then Mark Hamill or Condoleeza Rice propose a listening for the Mozart segment. How about Cecilia Bartoli for Baroque music?

Mind you, I am not a classical music expert. I just try and like to listen to good music, regardless of the genre. I am probably the ideal target for a project like this, which explains why I keep coming back. My favorite? Probably Five Minutes That Will Make You Love the Cello, although I am having a hard time accepting that Bach’s Suite No. 1 is not included in the selection (Suite No. 5 is, though.)

Official NYT playlists for the series are available on Spotify and, I presume, other platforms. I know because I wasted a couple hours building my own before finding out.