Track of the Day: Bach Cello Suite No. 1 by Mstislav Rostropovich

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

Reader Barbara, who recommended a full playlist of classical music earlier this week, shares a lyrical description for her top choice:

The champion long-running compositions for working, for me, are the J.S. Bach Cello Suites, performed by Mstislav Rostropovich. (These do require a quiet environment or headphones that limit competing noise). The notes push onward inevitably, flowing and cascading, for a couple of hours if I play all six suites.

It’s like going into a large, high-ceilinged room that has minimal furniture, but very rich textures—bookcases with leather-bound volumes, silk oriental rugs, deep-cushioned velvet upholstery, satin pillows, a lacquered chest, taffeta draperies, window seats with brocade cushions, and glazed plaster walls, all in aquamarine, emerald, sapphire, ruby, pearl, and silver tones, with one or two cloisonne tchotchkes, an arrangement of tulips or apple blossom or pussy willows, and a marble fireplace with an enormous mirror above it.

(Submit a song via hello@. Track of the Day archive here. Pre-Notes archive here.)