If you've ever had trouble getting to work on that big project, or if you suffer from those old Sunday night last-minute term paper blues, then here is the musical prescription for you. As the latest in his series of Mozart Effect books and recordings, Don Campbell
has created two very specific study aids, comprised of thoroughly creditable performances. One is carefully selected to "Focus and Activate the Mind" (Disc A), and the other supplies "Clarity and Restful Attention" (Disc B). Based on his 40 years of research in France and California, Campbell suggests that by aligning one's brainwaves with Mozart's music, almost any desired effect can be achieved.
The first disc is proposed here as a sort of "sonic caffeine." Start listening ten minutes before you get to work and watch yourself go. (It includes the now-notorious Allegro con spirito that has been said to increase IQ on spatial awareness tests. Here it is given a nicely bouncing rendition on a fortepiano, as Mozart himself might have played it.) But if you're too stressed out or hopped up to get to work, try the second disc for a lower-voltage but equally clarity-inducing work environment. In effect, the two discs are not all that different to listen to: Both are almost entirely made up of andante movements from various sonatas, concertos, and symphonies. But the experience is extremely pleasant, a tribute as well to the many musicians and ensembles on these recordings -- none of them household names but all fine performers. And since I actually wrote this review while listening to the set, I'll have to admit it gets the job done.