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Classical music is so hot right now. Who would have thought that Thomas Tallis and sadomasochistic trysts would go hand in hand?
EMI had an inkling, riding on the coattails of E L James' bestselling erotic trilogy Fifty Shades of Grey with a compilation of 15 classical masterworks referenced in the series and chosen by the author.
On its release this week, the CD entered the Billboard Classical Album Chart at Number 1, outselling every other album in the Top 80 combined. It also made a splash at #22 in the general Billboard Top 200, allowing the likes of Chopin and Debussy to rub shoulders with Justin Bieber.
"The first officially licensed product for sale in the marketing blitz for Fifty Shades of Grey...is not a toy whip or a handcuff or even a T-shirt," reported The New York Times; "It's Bach."
The disc had its own decadent launch at New York City's Soho House, complete with guests in handcuffs, masked waiters and The Parlor Quartet playing music from the album. In a rare public appearance, author E L James explained how the trilogy's primo uomo, 27-year-old billionaire, amateur pianist and sex fiend Christian Grey, relates to classical music: "I think he found that music healed his soul as a young child...it's where he finds some peace, through music.
"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," she added.
James proffered advice to classical music novices, saying simply, "I would suggest Bach. Always start with Bach." Fittingly, there are three of the composer's musical offerings on the album: the Adagio from the Third Keyboard Concerto, the opening Aria from The Goldberg Variations and (perhaps most titillating) Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring.