"Fifty Shades Of Grey" has quickly become a global phenomenon. The book has spent 18 weeks on the NYTimes best seller list for print and E-book fiction and the two other books in the series now sit at numbers 2 and 3 on the list. Not only do the books hold the highest spots on the chart, there are actually online community threads that read, "Fifty Shades Withdrawal Support Group," no joke.
So it doesn't surprise us that a piece of classical music featured in the book has, according to the Telegraph, rapidly increased in sales. The piece, "Spem in Alium," sung by The Tallis Scholars, jumped from No. 20 to No. 7 on the UK Classical Singles Chart, and it currently sits at No. 4 on the iTunes classical Top 100 chart.
In the book male protagonist Christian Grey listens to "Spem in Alium," as does Anastasia Steele. According to British travel blogger Cathy Dishner, Anastasia listens to the song during a passage in the Red Room of Pain:
Sightless as she blindfolded, immobile as she chained to a bed, and deaf to the outside world as she wears earphones with Spem in Alium blasting in her ears. She repeatedly comments of the rapture of the choral music which rivals the raptures of the flesh in this scene.
The inclusion of "Spem in Alium" in "Fifty Shades" has been eyed closely by some classical music scholars. ArtsJournal blogger Chloe Veltman argues that while the classical music industry already uses sex to sell CDs -- putting attractive artists on the covers -- the "50 Shades" approach could be more effective, and less degrading for musicians.
"With clever product placement, the classical music industry may be able to leverage the benefits of sex appeal without having to resort to the bare shoulders on CD covers (which, let’s face it, don’t make that much of a difference to sales figures anyway at the end of the day)," Veltman writes. "'50 Shades of Grey' is doing wonders for the Tallis Scholars and the singers didn’t have to take their shirts off and wiggle for the camera."
The song, translated from latin to, "Hope In Any Other" is a 40-part renaissance motet by English composer Thomas Tallis (c. 1505 - 1585). The piece was composed sometime around 1570 for eight choirs of five voices each.
The lyrics translate from Latin to:
"I have never founded by hope on any other than thee, O God of Israel, who shalt be angry, and yet be gracious, and who absolvest all the sins of mankind in tribulation. Lord God, creator of heaven and earth, be mindful of our lowliness."
To all you "Fifty Shades" readers out there (we promise we won't call you out!), any insights into why author EL James included this particular piece of music in the book? And have you come across other passages where the song is referenced? Let us know in the comments!