Tell Us What Sounds Like Summer to You

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Today, as we welcome the beginning of summer, our Showdown featured three musical portraits of this season, all written around the same time.

Frederick Delius’ In a Summer Garden depicts the composer’s own garden in Grez-sur-Loing, France. Zoltan Kodaly composed Summer Evening while a student at the Budapest Academy of Music. It was first performed at an Academy graduation concert, leading to an important scholarship to study abroad.

Finally, Im Sommerwind (In the Summer Wind), a tone poem based on Bruno Wille’s poem of the same same, shows us Anton Webern before he came under the influence of Schoenberg. Webern wrote Im Sommerwind at his family’s summer house in Carinthia, Austria.

Of these early-20th century impressions of summer, you voted to hear Delius' In a Summer Garden and we played it today at noon.


Frederick Delius: In a Summer Garden

Zoltan Kodaly: Summer Evening
Hear a sample here.

Anton Webern: Im Sommerwind (In the Summer Wind)

Comments [16]

Benita Hack from Brooklyn

Cast my vote for Delius. He can't be beat for evocative summer reveries, especially on this scorching summer day. Delius doesn't disappoint.

Jun. 20 2012 11:56 AM
Sue O'Dougherty

Sorry -- steady non-musician listener here -- but son just returned from a year in paris -- lost sleep watching the french Monde 5 station with subtitles (I subscribed for his sake). I stayed long after he left the room -- absolutely anything French is for me!

Jun. 20 2012 11:51 AM
gail from Keyp

I cast my vote for Kodaly.

Jun. 20 2012 11:47 AM

I'm voting for Kodaly because a)he's a fellow Hungarian and b)because we never hear his music played on WQXR.

Jun. 20 2012 11:41 AM
John from Manhattan

Oh, yes please, the Webern. Great piece, very evocative, and hints at the sense of fragility that his later pieces would portray.

Jun. 20 2012 11:40 AM
Francisca Sabadie from Scarsdale

i would love to hear the Kodaly because we don't hear much of his music and you are always playing Delius - i don't know this piece but liked what i heard on the radio this morning!


Jun. 20 2012 11:08 AM
Raymond Banacki from Brooklyn, New York

Please, the Webern, "In The Summer Wind", which is a lovely piece of Romantic music that Webern never heard in his lifetime.

Webern had a very rough time in Nazi Germany, because his music was deemed "degenerate".

After the war, he moved to Austria, with his family, where he thought that he would be safer.

Unfortunately, he was accidentally killed by an American soldier, who suffered a great deal of remorse and later died of alcoholism.

Jun. 20 2012 11:03 AM
Peggy from New York City (manhattan)

I would love to hear the Delius most of all! I love the music of this composer and this piece in a serene French garden is perfect for today, May Delius prevail!

Jun. 20 2012 10:56 AM
David from Columbia, Missouri

A hot summer afternoon, a bit of shade, sitting very still, say nothing, being aware of everything, and soon even the slightest hint of a breeze will be cooling.

Jun. 20 2012 10:51 AM
Franz J Fassbender

'In a Summer Garden' by Frederick Delius is the perfect piece of music to play and to be enjoyed on a hot sunny day like today. It is so soothing and
romantic as well as incomparable in its melodic beauty.
Who can ask for more!

Jun. 20 2012 10:37 AM
Bohdan from Cranford NJ

We could use a little summer breeze today.

Jun. 20 2012 10:25 AM
Peter O'Malley from Oakland, New Jersey

Actually, it's been summer for at least 3-4 weeks, with the trees in full leaf and the exuberant bursting forth of spring flowers over and done with. In Europe today is known as Midsummer's Day, and the fact of the summer solstice is an artificial way to mark the beginning of summer: and kind of a contradictory way as well, since the days will now, alas, start growing shorter.

That being said: I'm voting for the Webern, much as I love Delius, because nothing by Webern is in the top 40 type mix that WQXR generally plays, so it would be nice to hear something completely different.

As a side note: Jeff, the gods enter in "das Rheingold"; it's guests in "Tannhauser"!

Jun. 20 2012 10:18 AM
Linnaeus from Long Island

Much as I like Delius--decades now--I have to say that there must be a Delius nut at WQXR. It seems that hardly a day goes by without something of FD's--I know, I know, it's not every day, but... And the problem otherwise? It's the same few things--something from "Florida Suite," "Walk to the Paradise Garden," "Summer Garden."

He's the Somerset Maugham of music, a first-rank second-rate composer. Unfamiliar with the Webern. Listened to the sample. Gorgeous. If it doesn't win, I can hear it on YouTube.

Jun. 20 2012 10:18 AM
Les from Miami, Florida

The entire Vaughan Williams Third "Pastorale" Symphony makes me think of summer. In the second movement, the composer went so far as to indicate that the solo trumpet be one in E-flat in order to play "natural notes" of the overtone series, and likewise the F-horn solo at the end of the movement. The wordless soprano (or tenor) cantilena in the last movement seems equally evocative of summer and/or nature, since it's a vocalise on "ah" --- I've never heard anything else --- though that isn't in the score. (I wonder if Nielsen had that in mind when he wrote his Third Symphony with soprano and baritone in the slow movemement?)

Jun. 20 2012 09:38 AM
Carol from Bronxville

What I'd really like to hear today are the "Winter" movements from Vivaldi's Four Seasons since I don't have air conditioning at home. But Webern gets my vote!

Jun. 20 2012 08:53 AM
Arnold Schoenberg from Vienna

The Webern, fo sho. It's Anton at his most melodic, still hanging on to the warmth of late-Romantic tonality even as he believed its end was near. And a beautiful piece no less.

Jun. 20 2012 08:23 AM

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