“The singing starts again ... building and building, and he rains down blows on me ... and I groan and writhe ... Lost in him, lost in the astral seraphic voices ... I am completely at the mercy of his expert touch...” Here’s our BDSM-loving heroine, Anastasia Steele, recounting some sort of out-of-body experience: being whipped and dominated by Christian Grey while the “seraphic voices” from Thomas Tallis’s Spem in Alium resound throughout her Dominant’s Red Room of Pain. “It was ... overwhelming,” she says of the 40-part motet by the 16th-century court composer, which is actually a devotional choral piece about man’s faith in the Lord.
In mid-July, thanks to its role in E.L. James’s Fifty Shades of Grey, Spem in Alium topped U.K. classical-music charts. Now, EMI Classics is releasing an entire album of classical tunes designed to be “the perfect accompaniment to the Fifty Shades reading experience, setting a mysterious and alluring atmosphere with just the slightest hint of danger.” Naturally, all 15 tracks were curated by E.L. James herself, including the aria from Bach’s Goldberg Variations, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto #2, and Pachabel’s Canon in D. Anyone who has read the books knows classical music is high on the list of Christian’s esoteric interests, and his talent for tinkling the ivories comes in handy when he works his magic fingers on Anastasia. Frankly, just thinking about this masterpiece’s digital release on Aug. 21 has us all hot and bothered.