Fifty Shades of Grey – The Classical Album dominated the Billboard Classical Albums Chart this week, coming in at #1 and outselling every other album in the top 80 combined. The album also found itself on the Billboard Top 200 chart at #22, placing Bach and Chopin alongside One Direction, Justin Bieber and Frank Ocean.

Fifty Shades of Grey – The Classical Album features 15 pieces of classical music personally curated by author E L James and referenced in her bestselling Fifty Shades book trilogy. The album was released on September 11th in the United States on Capitol Records, and has received unprecedented media attention, including the Los Angeles Timeswho tipped off their readers to “Grab a glass of wine, recruit a partner and — if you dare — turn up the Chopin and let it work its magic.”

 

This past Monday, September 17th, Capitol Records hosted an exclusive launch event for the album, at New York City’s Soho House, complete with guests in handcuffs, waiters in Venetian masks and The Parlor Quartet performing selections from the album. The event featured a rare public appearance and Q&A with author E L James. In her conversation with E! News correspondent Alicia Quarles, E L James discussed how main character Christian Grey relates to classical music: “For Christian, I think he found that music healed his soul as a young child…it’s where he finds some peace, through music.”

When asked to offer listening suggestions to Classical newcomers, James said simply: “I would suggest Bach…always start with Bach.” And when asked what has been most rewarding about the success of the books and the album, she said “It’s nice that people who don’t normally listen to classical music are now listening to classical music, it’s great that women who don’t normally read are reading…that’s what I take home to bed every night.”

E L James begins a six-city book tour today, which will include her first visit to Seattle, where the books are mostly based.

An Evening with E L James

Featuring a Rare Q&A With The Author E L James at Soho House NYC on September 17, 2012

Fifty Shades of Grey – The Classical Album Tracklisting:

1              Lakmé (Act I): Flower Duet (Mady Mesplé, Danielle Millet)

2              Bach: Adagio from Concerto #3 BWV 974 (Alexandre Tharaud)

3              Villa-Lobos: Bachianas Brasilerias #5 – Cantilena (Barbara Hendricks)

4              Verdi: La Traviata Prelude (Riccardo Muti / Philharmonia Orchestra)

5              Pachelbel: Canon in D (Sir Neville Marriner/ Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields)

6              Tallis: Spem in Alium (The Tallis Scholars)

7              Chopin: Prelude #4 in E minor, Largo (Samson François)

8              Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto #2 – Adagio Sostenuto (Cecile Ousset, Sir Simon Rattle / CBSO)

9              Vaughan Williams: Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis (Sir Adrian Boult / LPO)

10           Canteloube: Chants d’auvergne, Bailero (Arleen Auger)

11           Chopin: Nocturne #1 in B-flat minor (Samson François)

12           Faure: Requiem – In Paradisum (Choir of King’s College, Cambridge / Stephen Cleobury)

13           Bach: Goldberg Variation – Aria (Maria Tipo)

14           Debussy: La Fille Aux Cheveux de Lin (Moura Lympany)

15           Bach: Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring (Alexis Weissenberg)

 

The three novels in the Fifty Shades trilogy (Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed) are published by Vintage Books and have sold more than 30 million copies in the U.S. (the trilogy has sold over 40 million copies worldwide). The books’ various references to classical music have spurred sales of the pieces mentioned – even going so far as to cause Spem in Alium, a 16th century motet for 40 voices by Thomas Tallis, to jump to the top of the UK Classical Singles chart in the UK.

Fifty Shades of Grey – The Classical Album aims to provide the perfect accompaniment to the Fifty Shades reading experience, setting a mysterious and alluring atmosphere with just the slightest hint of danger…the music on the album includes The Tallis Scholars’ sweeping version of Spem in Alium featured in the first novel, along with 14 other works from the books, such as the ‘Flower Duet’ from Lakmé, Pachelbel’s Canon in D, the ‘aria’ from Bach’s Goldberg Variations and more.  The recording artists include such world-class performers as Sir Simon Rattle, King’s College Choir, Barbara Hendricks, and Alexandre Tharaud, and the album features cover art based on the novels.

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