Mental Air Conditioning

Saturday, July 24, 2010 - 12:00 AM

People walk through Central Park during a snowstorm February 10, 2010 in New York City. (Getty Images)

There are lots of ways to cope with this hot July, ranging from going into the shade out of the direct sun, to going to Australia, which is so out of the direct sun that it's winter. There isn't much that we can do over the radio to cool your body, but maybe we can offer the illusion of a cooler atmosphere through music.

A number of years ago a church in my home state of Nebraska made national news when the congregation, amid a big heat wave, sang Christmas carols at Sunday services. It made them feel cooler. (And if you're wondering how a little story like that managed to make the national wire service, just remember that Lindsay Lohan hadn't been born yet. Priorities were different.) 

So today we're going to play some music associated in one way or another with cold weather. Maybe your brain will tell your body that it's not as hot in New York now as it seems. 

Got any suggestions?

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Comments [27]

Kenneth Bennett Lane from Lake Hiawatha, NJ

For chilly music for these super hot days the imagery implied may well be served by playing Sibelius' "Finlandia," "Valse Triste,"and his 2nd Symphony; Moussorgsky's "Night on Bald Mountain;" the "Dies Irae" from Verdi's "Requiem;" Grieg's "In the Hall of the Mpuntain King" from his "Peer Gynt;" and the "contemporary" Christmas selections: "Winter Wonderland" and "Sleigh Ride."

Aug. 11 2010 07:56 PM
June LeBell from Sarasota, FL

Jeff - - I'm jealous! I always thought we should have Christmas in July so the snow wouldn't feel so cold. I think a carol medley is best so listeners can sing-along. (FYI - it's cooler in Sarasota, FL than NYC. And splashing around in the pool doesn't hurt...) Thinking of you - -

Jul. 28 2010 06:51 PM
marc yablon from brooklyn,n.y.

did anyone forget the chase scene from the movie -"help" i believe it was the swiss alps with wagner being played in the background.

Jul. 26 2010 06:42 PM
Rosemarie Gates from Fort Lee, NJ

The first piece of music I thought of was connected to images of a battle on the ice. Though the battle was heated, it's quite a chilly - and fantastic - scene. This is the 5th movement from Prokofiev's score for the Eisenstein movie, Alexander Nevsky. The movement is "The Battle on the Ice." Cool!

My next thought - or was it my fiirst - was Frosty the Snowman, classic in it's own way.

Thanks for asking. I love these musical ruminations!

Jul. 24 2010 10:48 PM
Michael Meltzer

For it's classical music reference, "The Breeze and I" is a popular adaptation of Lecuona's "Andaluza" from his "Andalucia" Suite for piano solo. That makes "The Breeze and I" a decidedly tropical breeze, but maybe that's a more realistic relief anyway.
In any case, I don't recall the new WQXR ever airing a recording of "Andalucia" and an excuse really shouldn't be needed.

Jul. 24 2010 05:43 PM
Wendi from Manhattan

There's nothing colder than the Sibelius 4th!

Jul. 24 2010 03:11 PM
Cindy and Ric Legorreta on Union Square from Union Square

Well, I always liked the song "Cool" from West Side Story, which makes me 'chill' every time I hear it. Or, if we wish to be overwhelmed by both pathos and frostbite - perhaps, David Lang's Litttle Match Girl Passion? There's a popular song called "The Breeze and I" which ought to give some small relief; it is based on a classical theme, if I remember? I'm going to fix myself a pitcher of icy oolong tea and lemon. We'll be listening. Hang in, everybody!

Jul. 24 2010 12:01 PM
Gus from Clinton Hill

Terrible idea, why not play odes and threnodies of heat and make y'self relevant to the day?

the other day in the subway a jazz trio played "summertime" and in the sweating heat we enjoyed it

changing the station

Jul. 24 2010 11:56 AM
Pat Vann

Love your idea. The music of Edvard Grieg always makes me think of the glaciers & icy fjords of Norway.

Jul. 24 2010 11:27 AM
Ed Archer from NJ

I envision the icy scene in December at the rink in Rockefeller Center or in Central Park as I hear the "Skater's Waltz."

Jul. 24 2010 10:51 AM
Marcia Jacobs from Brooklyn

One way of keeping cool is listening to the Vaughn Williams Synphony no. 7, the Antarctica. The last movement, ending with the sound of the wind, should especially make you shiver.

Jul. 24 2010 10:13 AM
Paul from New York

Chopin's Etude in A minor, Op. 25 No. 11 -- the "Winter Wind"

Jul. 24 2010 09:51 AM

Jeff-Thank you for lifting me out of my "tropical depression"! Hearing Sleighride literally made me dance and I loved it and love your idea. For those who want us to "love the summer" lighten up. And the rest of us will keep on chillin with Jeff's music.

Jul. 24 2010 09:28 AM
Francisca Sabadie from Scarsdale, New York

how about music reminding us how wonderful summer is and of all the things that you can't do during the winter for those who think summer is the best season - does this mean that all winter long we are going to have to listen to music that reminds us how wonderful the other seasons are? reminding your audience every available moment of how hot it is does not seem to be the best way to cool them off- Cool it!

Jul. 24 2010 09:11 AM
Mike Gill

Continuing with the movie theme..."The Blue Danube" always evokes movie scene memories for me of coolness and movement, i.e. "2001..." and period scenes of lavishly dressed dancers waltzing.

Jul. 24 2010 09:06 AM
Marcia Jacobs from Brooklyn

You played music from the second act of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker, but a good choice would be the finale of the first act, which has the danse of the snow flakes.
How about Delius' Sleigh Ride, the Troika from Lieutenant Kije, or Prokofieff's Winter Holiday?

Jul. 24 2010 09:06 AM
Alan from Woodbury,NY

Sleigh ride by Fredrick Delius or by Leroy Anderson

Jul. 24 2010 08:59 AM
Fred Nangle from Fairfield, CT

In January 2003, on a very cold night, two of my best friends married each other in their apartment above the East River - they asked me to hit "play" on their stereo for the bridal march, and Beth walked up to Ron to Susan Graham singing Reynaldo Hahn's "A Cloris". Nothing cold about the music or performer, but the effortless elegance of the performance - passionate yet never sweaty - and the association with that chilly happy night always makes me feel cool when I hear that beautiful performance.

Jul. 24 2010 08:58 AM
Rhoma from New York City

I'd like to suggest Holst's "In the Bleak Midwinter." It may suspend belief that we are actually in this awful and endless July heat-and-humidity miasma.

Note: I have some photographs of last February's blizzard, if that would help.

Jul. 24 2010 08:49 AM
Elaine Stillerman from Brooklyn, NY

Now that you are playing Vivaldi - the obvious: Winter from his or any 4 Seasons.

Jul. 24 2010 08:39 AM
Ken Thompson from NYC

Einojuhani Rautavaara has written some deliciously "icy" music: his "Cantus Arcticus" Concerto for Birds and Orchestra, and also his Harp Concerto and Ballad for Harp and Strings. Other music to chill by: Tchaikovsky's "Waltz of the Snowflakes" from The Nutcracker and Vaughan-Williams "Sinfonia Antarctica" (Symphony No. 8)

Jul. 24 2010 08:35 AM
Elaine Stillerman from Brooklyn, NY

What a terrific idea! Jeff, you've done it again! I also thought of "Lara's Theme" from Dr Zhivago which conjures up images of mountainous snow and brutal cold. Or anything from a Scandinavian composer. Just the thought of these climates is helpful.

Love you, Jeff. Glad to hear you this morning.


Jul. 24 2010 08:18 AM

What about:
Meyerbeer, "Le patineurs"

Jul. 24 2010 08:13 AM
Sabine Wilson

How about Dr. Shivago. Anything with water and ocean

Jul. 24 2010 08:07 AM
kate from Hudson River

We were living in Bombay in 1967 and 68 and on my husbands one day off we went to the theater and watched Dr. Zhivago. At the time electricity and air conditioners were rationed.. We shivered through those Siberian blizzards for an hour or two. When we walked out into the hot humid street we looked at each other and walked back in the theater and did it again. That music always cools me off .


Jul. 24 2010 08:05 AM
Bryan Crocker

How about

Troika from Prokofiev's Lieutenant Kije Suite.

Jul. 24 2010 08:05 AM
Michael Meltzer

At the risk of my being repetitive, and even though it's a metaphor for something else,
Randall Thompson's "Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening (from "Frostiana")" is too beautiful not to include here.
Also, the Leopold Mozart, "Sleigh Ride." At the risk of startling readers, the German title is "Schlittenfahrt."

Jul. 24 2010 12:49 AM

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