>But where is our profound musical 'home'? Who are the composers we most
>turn to when we are feeling like we want to cleanse our tastebuds?
When I've been out in the fields working over some 20th century music
and need a little respite I typically turn to the melodists: Mozart,
Tchaikovsky, Boccherini, Vivaldi, and so on.
>Which are the compositions we select when we need a good old pal, ...
These would probably be the works I got to know early on, and still retain
a special place. Handel's Water Music. Beethoven symphonies. The Four
Seasons; the Brandenburgs. Chopin. The Planets.
As some others have mentioned, I feel I have to be very careful with these
works not to burn out on them.
>or want to renew ourselves after a very stressful time?
I find Bruckner to be very relaxing, contemplative. Schubert's 9th is
also a work that I can immerse myself in so completely it can make the
rest of the world go away, for an hour at least.
>What is our own personal, guaranteed, tried-and-true feel-good music?
Mozart piano concertos and late symphonies. Lots of chamber music from
Haydn (the quartets and trios of course, but also the wind divertimenti and
smaller works like the baryton trios) to Mozart (the great string trio and
the string quintets are favorites) to Beethoven (too long to list), and on
to the Schumann piano quartet and quintet, Schubert's great string quintet,
octet, and the late piano works. Brahms is always a great intellectual
escape, and I love the piano trios.
>What are the pieces of music
>we have sought out more than five times in the last year?
If I let myself, I would probably listen to much of the above every month,
but fearing overuse, I dare not. Once or twice a year is usually my limit
on the works I want to keep coming back to forever.