You Select the Sound of Summer

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Summer in Central Park. Summer in Central Park. (Asterio Tecson/flickr)

The weather has been warming up — then randomly cooling down — and this Friday marks the official beginning of summer, so our Showdown features three musical portraits of the season.

We asked if it was Vivaldi's, Delius' or Webern's depiction of summer you’d like to hear and you chose Webern's In the Summer Wind as our summer soundtrack. We played it at noon.

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Comments [13]

Peter Olson from 35660

I vote for Mahler, Symphony 3, his paean to summer. The movements are subtitled: "Pan Awakes, Summer Marches In"
"What the Flowers in the Meadow Tell Me"
"What the Animals in the Forest Tell Me"
"What Man Tells Me"
"What the Angels Tell Me"
"What Love Tells Me"

Or, how about Mendelssohn's Midsummer Night's Dream

Jun. 19 2013 03:11 PM
Nina from NYC

In response to some of the comments above: "Summer" from Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons" is not the same as "Spring" from the same piece. "Spring" is kind of pleasant (except granted, the 1st mvt theme is overplayed), but "Summer" is a MUCH better piece than "Spring," (well, at least the first and last movements of Summer are). Listen for yourself (hopefully on a really good recording of it)!

Jun. 19 2013 12:09 PM
Lara from NYC

Totally agree with Patrick from Wallington! Would love to hear the Vaughan Williams piece--we don't hear that one often enough. Vivaldi too overplayed and Delius is insipid (in my opinion)

Jun. 19 2013 11:53 AM
Rae Barlow from Manhattan

Webern. why not?

Jun. 19 2013 11:45 AM
Ray from Long Island

Much as I like Delius, I can't help but consider him a top-rank second-rate composer, and there is someone at WQXR who likes him too much, although the avalanche of Delius that there was some months back has waned.

Vivaldi? Please.

Webern? Why not? I've heard it once before and liked it, and something this obscure needs some play time.

But I'll bet Vivaldi wins.

Jun. 19 2013 11:29 AM
Patrick from Wallington

ANYTHING BUT VIVALDI. Give it a rest, already.

I'd nominate "The Lark Ascending" over any of these, actually, though I think it's nice to see Delius get a little love.

Jun. 19 2013 11:22 AM
James from Brooklyn

This was an easy one for me. Delius has always been a favorite, especially his 'Florida Suite' and 'On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring'. The Dante Rossetti quotation which appeared with 'In a Summer Garden' provides some context: "All are my blooms; and all sweet blooms of love. To thee I gave while Spring and Summer sang."

Jun. 19 2013 11:18 AM
Christopher St Clair from Brooklyn

Concurring with Francesca Sabadie, Vivaldi is gorgeous, agreed; but I have heard it so many times - in performance, from my own CD collection, on the radio - that I'm beginning to wish we had a fifth season so we could avoid Vivaldi. On the other hand, I've never heard the Webern piece, and I count on WQXR to bring me new things that make my right ear (it's the better one) stand up and make me late for work in the morning. So Webern it is.

Jun. 19 2013 10:58 AM
Francisca Sabadie from Scarsdale

MY knee-jerk reaction, of course, would have been Vivaldi whom I love and never tire of. However, I don't think i have ever heard the Webern and would love to hear it. I think the idea of a summer music showdown in honor of the solstice is a great idea - plenty of time left for Verdi and Wagner and plenty of that played already this week probably! I could do without listening to Delius ever again - his music is so "light" that I find it nerve-wracking - I keep on hoping that he will let her rip! It certainly is not idea of "pastoral" as described earlier this morning - leave that to Beethoven - his "Pastorale" is perhaps the most beautiful piece of music ever composed!

Jun. 19 2013 10:23 AM
Arwen from an office in midtown

Does it have to be a big orchestral work? I'd love to hear Samuel Barber's Summer Music for wind quintet.

Jun. 19 2013 10:11 AM
Karen Langro

To me the only choice is Vivaldi's The Four Seasons "Summer". The music is so powerful and exciting, beautiful! But that's Vivaldi!

Jun. 19 2013 09:55 AM
Carol Luparella from Elmwood Park, NJ

This is an almost exact repeat of the Showdown from last year at this time. Can't you come up with anything different, or at least some different selections? I like Bernie's suggestion of the Mahler 3rd Symphony; it would be nice to hear that for a change (oh, I forgot, that piece is more than 20 minutes long - you couldn't possibly play it without throwing off your schedule!)
I think we need some new ideas for future Showdowns. Since this year is the 200th birth anniversary of Wagner and Verdi, how about some Showdowns throughout this year relating to them? For example, you could have one Showdown asking us to choose from among various selections from a Wagner opera, and one for a Verdi opera. Or, how about which conductor or orchestra do you want to hear performing a particular selection from a Wagner or Verdi opera? You get the idea.
How about it listeners? Let's help WQXR come up with some other ideas for the Showdown at High Noon!
By the way, I enjoy the Showdown and look forward to it each week; I just think it needs some refreshing!

Jun. 19 2013 09:53 AM
Bernie from UWS

Webern, please. The Vivaldi has become a Top 40 cliche and Delius is light music whose sole virtue is its inoffensiveness.

What about Barber's Knoxville, Summer of 1915? Or Berlioz's Les Nuits d'ete? Mahler's 3rd Symphony has some summer overtones too. Lots of interesting pieces out there you could have considered.

Jun. 19 2013 07:31 AM

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