Well, how much can really be said about Beethoven today that hasn't been said by a million crazy music teachers in high school. He's obviously a genius, but what makes his sonatas so perfect for studying or the creative process is that they're so visual. But you're mind doesn't have to work that hard to construct the images. There are studies out there that show patients who had strokes have a greater ratio of improvement in terms of memory, when they're listening to music. That's because when you listen to music, the areas in your brain that are associated with memory are activated. So if this is true, it's like turning on a switch, a light bulb in your mind. I recommend Wilhelm Kempff's sonatas on Spotify, but you can find many different versions.
5. Erik Satie: Trois Gymnopedies
Like sitting outside your window with a pen and paper and listening to the rain, the notes from Erik Satie's, Gymnopedies, sound like music that was meant to be a permanent structure of nature. Gymnopedies is just the piano, and it's simple and subtle but spectacular. Satie was a French composer who was labeled as a minimalist -- even though he hated that term. It's music that is subtle -- almost mathematical -- that pulsates with life and energy. There is a lot of space between the notes, but the melody is haunting, and it's been in so many movies and television shows -- including Star Treck: The Next Generation, Chocolat, The Royal Tenenbaums -- it will be hard not pull the melody out of some memory.