Souvenir, an organ piece by John Cage, shows up in my iTunes as most played as well as top-rated. It's a short, simple, moody forty-four second track from the recording by Stephen Drury, on a CD I highly recommend. Amazon samples the first twenty-nine seconds. johncage.info links to an MP3 of an accordion version (played much slower) by Stefan Hussong.
In Dream, In a Landscape, Souvenir and Suite for Toy Piano, Cage rings a variation on this technique. The chords, rattles, and gongs are reduced to single tones, all falling within a mere or less conventional scale or mode. The pedal sustains the tones and adds resonance in the two compositions for piano (ad libitum in Dream, throughout the length of In a Landscape). In Souvenir for organ (written roughly thirty-five years after Dream!) the tones may be freely sustained either manually or with the pedals...
The work was commissioned by the American Guild of Organists, which was looking for something similar to Dream.
Just to calibrate, here are my other current 5-star tracks:
• White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane from the Platoon soundtrack. Grace Slick sings with the urgency of Patti Smith. For the record, I didn't like The Haight in San Francisco until Amoeba Records opened up.
• Metamorphosis by Philip Glass performed by Aleck Karis, who really nails the fast arpeggios.
• Etude VI by Philip Glass from his Piano Etudes. Karis needs to record this.
• Go to Sleep (Little Man Being Erased) by Radiohead from Hail to the Thief. Guitar bliss.
• Why Does Someone Have to Die by Philip Glass from the Hours soundtrack.
• New Cities in Ancient Lands, Africa by Philip Glass from the Powaqqasi soundtrack. I thought I didn't like this music but here it is. Philip Glass meets Steve Reich in Africa.
• Spiritual High by Up! from the Artificial Intelligence soundtrack. I'm unfamiliar with the artist and the film.
• The Empty Page by Sonic Youth from Murray Street. When I first heard the CD, I was disappointed compared to A Thousand Leaves but again, here it is.
• The Walrus in Memorium by Terry Riley played by Gloria Cheng-Cochran. This is a light-hearted set of variations on I Am the Walrus by the Beatles.
• Mysterious Mountain (Andante) by Alan Hovhaness. The MP3 tags are missing but I assume this is the Fritz Reiner recording.
Overall, I'm surprised about the number of soundtracks, the number of tracks by Philip Glass, and the fact that the most listened to track, although short, is by John Cage.