Summer has always been a season that has inspired music lovers. Maybe it’s because there is something relaxing about being warm, or just the change in the weather that does it. Whatever it is, I know that it affects me, as I tend to listen to twice as much music in summer as I do in winter. What follows are a few pieces that have become part of my weekly playlist this summer.
Summer – Vivaldi
It will come as no surprise that I open with the recommendation of Vivaldi’s violin concerto. After all, he did attempt to capture all four seasons of the year. Although The Four Seasons are famous as a collective piece, and well established in structure, it is the Summer section which is most often recalled by listeners.
Summer, which is often referred to as Storm due to its thunderstorm-like string parts, evokes change and passion, as if a war of liberation were being excelled. Obvious as the choice may seem, it never really ages, and remains fresh under any condition.
The Firebird – Stravinsky
From the deep perils of Stravinsky’s passionate Firebird stems a frenzied summer. First performed on 25 June 1910, it heats up a delicate balance of subtle ballet as well as the pure Stravinsky bliss of chaotic changes and unconventional, jagged rhythms. The basis of the narrative in folklore seems even more appropriate for summer, a season when most of us recall our childhood holidays. There is something magically childlike in this piece; it evokes a mood of mystic and forgotten treasures awaiting discovery.
Symphony No. 25 in G minor – Mozart
It is hard not to think of the seaside when discussing the summer. Having spent most of my childhood in dangerously sun-riddled countries, I remember always having to arrive at beaches early, before sunrise had fully bloomed and then leave before the heat was in full effect. Somehow in my memory, when it comes to the seaside, I have produced the image of a mass of people retreating and Mozart’s piece fits perfectly here. As his orchestral strings repeat short passages, I imagine the sudden approach of sunlight, the change it creates – slowly invading all possible places of shade and ending the short visit.
The car journey that would follow in prompt fashion would connect seamlessly with Mozart’s overturning tones, a childlike fascination with the outside world disappearing with every second of the journey.
Air on the G string – Bach
It wouldn’t be a summer playlist without this piece. The simple repetitive lilt of the music makes it unbelievably comfortable to listen to, transporting us to a simpler time filled with a warm ambiance which only sunlight can aspire to emulate; this is probably the most popular choice for a summer play – forever captivating, resonating and reassuring.
Nocturne No. 2 in E Flat – Chopin
As the summer evenings come to an end and the once heating, sun-glazed hours fade, there is nothing more soothing than a simple Nocturne. It runs seamlessly in form, forever playful in its teasing nature. The piece slowly resonates something ephemeral, like the sunlight hours, and remains cocooned within any listeners memory as a desolate piece of a moment that has passed.
Listen to this soundtrack on Spotify.