The cover doesn't list the contents, but I bet we can guess: Pachelbel's Canon, Mozart's Eine Kleine, Debussy's Claire de Lune, Albinoni's Adagio, Bach's Air on a G string and so on. Classical music has its own Top Forty and they don't change that much from year to year. If you want to see the whole list, which has no real surprises, here is the link. Hardly any composer has more than one piece on the list: just Bach, Beethoven and Mozart.
Let's give credit where credit is due: for most people it really is relaxing to listen to this music, in which they perceive the gentle beauty that is conspicuously lacking from a lot of pop music.
Speaking of Mozart, he is number two on the list:
Less easy to guess because a whole album of Mozart's greatest hits is going to go far beyond the usual suspects and once you do that, with Mozart at least, there are a host of possibilities. The list is on the back:
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Here is the third best-selling:
Oh god, is Windham Hill still around? I thought they had disappeared long ago like the Passenger Pigeon or the Packard sedan. But no, alas. This is really miscategorized because there is nothing classical whatsoever about it. There is a lot of Jim Brickman, with a little Ludovico Einaudi at the end:
Shall I mercifully refuse to comment? Yes, I shall.
The next one is another "classics for relaxation" collection followed by the ubiquitous Vivaldi Four Seasons, but the next one is a surprise:
Wow, not only Shostakovich, but three serious symphonies on Deutsche Grammophon with an entirely respectable conductor and orchestra. The only gesture towards marketing I can discern is the album title: "Under Stalin's Shadow". And it is sixth on the list. Pretty good.
I'm still wondering why the Windham Hill is there. Is it simply because it doesn't have enough backbeat to fit comfortably in the pop section? Plus, tinkling piano?
I guess if I wanted to put out an album that "sells" I would pick the most soothing tracks and label it "Relaxing Classical Guitar". The question is, why would I not do that? Here is a piece that would definitely find its way into that collection:
UPDATE: Hey, I've figured out the secret. The most important thing is that the dominant color on the cover has to be blue!