Pieces to Warm Up A Winter Night

Friday, February 26, 2010

On February 2, Staten Island Chuck did not see his shadow, predicting to hopeful New Yorkers that Spring was just around the corner. Stepping outside since then, it’s hard to believe Chuck’s forecast. The cold snowy weather with no immediate relief in sight has us dreaming of spring and summer months. Here are our top 5 compositions to help create the illusion of warmer weather.

1. Robert Schumann’s Symphony No. 1, nicknamed The Spring, (Schumann sketched out the four movements as Spring's Awakening, Evening, Merry Playmates, and Spring at its Peak) was inspired by his marriage to Clara Wieck. It is instilled with the optimism of new love and the new season.

2. Samuel Barber’s 15-minute Knoxville Summer of 1915 combines with James Agee’s prose to describe a lazy summer evening on the porch two years before America’s entry World War I violently interrupted those calm nights.

3. Gustav Mahler, who often outlined his works with descriptive titles to his symphonies, initially called the first movement of his Symphony No. 3 “Summer marches in” then went on to describe the earth and heavens.

4. Benjamin Britten segues from an icy winter into a verdant spring in his aptly titled Spring Symphony. Soloists vocalize bird calls in this 45-minute, 12-part song cycle, while text such as “When will my May come” and “Sumer is icumen” promise more temperate weather.

5. Les nuits d’été, a seven-song cycle of summer nights by Hector Berlioz, owes more to love and heartbreak than summer, but it brings dreams of summer images like picking strawberries in the woods and warm breezes along a seashore.

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Comments [8]

Elizabeth - New York

Sounds like: a member?

Mar. 05 2010 01:42 PM
Elizabeth from New York

Living in India, I tune into WQXR online. However, once a year when back in New York (as at present), I listen to you all day long when I write (on art). Thank you for inspiration, passion and creative sound!

As with all arts, greatness survives.

Mar. 05 2010 01:00 PM

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Mar. 03 2010 05:54 PM

Yes, I listen to WQXR's streams via Winamp. I use Winamp because it can handle all internet audio streams, especially for me streams from http://www.live365.com.

Live 365 advises against using WMP.

But, using one's own player is generally a very good solution.

Mar. 03 2010 03:37 PM

Yes - like tscalI have had a problem the past few days - hitting the listen button brings up the player, but it won't play! I thought it was a company issue. However, I tried other formats & was able to listen via Windows Media Player.

Mar. 02 2010 11:30 PM


Which two days? I listen on line constantly at work and at home. I listen to both the 105.9 stream and Q2 at different times of the day and evening. I have had no problems.

Mar. 02 2010 03:17 PM

So whats the problem with online access? Two days and no access?

Mar. 02 2010 09:35 AM
Michael Meltzer

Gershwin: Cuban Overture
Ginastera: Danzas Argentinas (Piano Solo)
Carlos Chavez: Toccata for Percussion
Colin McPhee: Tabu Tabuhan
Almost any Gottschalk

Mar. 02 2010 03:42 AM

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