Summertime Classical Music

Jul 3, 2017

Now that July is here, the staff at Classical 104.9 FM has put together 7 Summer-themed pieces of classical music to keep you company as the mercury – and the humidity – begin to rise…

All of these recordings are in our Classical 104.9 FM library, and can be heard on-air throughout the summer…

1.     No better place to start than with the slow-simmering (but big-finishing) “Summer”, from The Four Seasons, by Antonio Vivaldi. Here’s the final movement from that concerto, with soloist Joshua Bell:

2.     Set to a text by the Tennessee-born writer and critic James Agee, Samuel Barber’s “Knoxville: Summer of 1915” is a wonderful evocation of small-town, Southern, summertime living in the early 20th century. Soprano Dawn Upshaw joins the Orchestra of St. Luke’s:

3.     Next, we travel to Hungary, for a pastoral tone poem by the Hungarian composer, teacher, and ethnomusicologist Zoltan Kodaly. Lasting about 17 minutes, this is his “Summer Evening”, written in 1906, and revised in 1929:

4.     It wouldn’t BE summertime without this memorable melody by George Gershwin – here’s Kathleen Battle to sing “Summertime”:

5.     This is a lovely and evocative short orchestral piece by the Swiss-born composer Arthur Honegger. Inspired by a 1920 vacation he took to the Swiss Alps, this is Honegger’s Pastorale D’ete (Summer Pastorale):

6.     Composer and conductor William Grant Still certainly knew how hot summers in the South can get – he was born in Woodville, Mississippi and was raised in Arkansas. This is Still’s “Summerland”:

7.     The American composer Charles Ives re-fashioned several of his pre-existing compositions into this raucous bit of Americana – “Putnam’s Camp”, from his Three Places in New England. A young lad falls asleep at a Fourth of July picnic, and dreams of a marching army, and a small town patriotic band, doing their level best to keep in time (and, in tune), against a competing band:

From all of us at Classical 104.9 FM, have a great Summer!