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Songs of Summer

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The September long weekend is upon us,

– and with kids back at school this coming week, you might be trying to squeeze in one more ‘summer’ weekend. Whether it’s a day out at Assiniboine Park, Fort Whyte Alive or The Forks, a long weekend camping trip or you’re out at your cabin; here is a summer classical music list that’s sure to capture these last moments of Summer 2022.

Antonio Vivaldi – Summer

It’s kind of unfair that Vivaldi gets included in every seasonal playlist. But can you blame him? The Four Seasons is a masterpiece. And for that reason we can’t help but get whisked away to Venice and a summer spent under the Italian sun with this virtuosic Baroque concerto.

Isaac Albéniz – Asturias

Originally written for piano, this rhythmic flamenco-style work by Catalan composer and pianist Isaac Albéniz has become one of the most important works in the classical guitar repertoire. Nothing says summer than a beautiful solo flamenco guitar performance at the annual Feria de Málaga (festival) in Málaga, Spain.

Aturo Márquez- Danzón No. 2

Next we travel to Mexico and Danzón No. 2 by composer Arturo Márquez, Impossibly catchy in its rhythms and melodies, it’s the perfect summer work.

Frederick Delius – On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring

Based on a melody from an old Norwegian folk song ‘In Ola Valley’, this beautiful tone poem is among English composer Delius’ most beloved works. You can actually hear the instruments of the orchestra imitate the natural sounds of cuckoo—from the strings to the woodwinds.

George Gershwin – Summertime

It started as an opera aria from Porgy and Bess, and became a jazz staple. Gershwin’s sultry writing with a hint of melancholy has lent itself to every genre imaginable, making ‘Summertime’ the most covered song in the world!

Ludwig van Beethoven – Romance No. 2 in F major

Warmth practically radiates out of this Romantic violin work, but still somewhat sad in its innocence and sweetness. Join us next month when internationally renowned violinist James Ehnes returns home to Manitoba to open our 75th anniversary season to perform Beethoven’s Concerto in D major for Violin and Orchestra. (add a link to concert)

Claude Debussy – Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune

This beautiful symphonic poem tells the tale of the mythical faun who, enchanted by the woods’ nymphs and naiads, drifts off to sleep. No one will judge you if you fall asleep after listening to that famous chromatic opening flute solo and shimmering harp lines emulating the languid heat of a summer afternoon . . .

Joaquín Rodrigo – Concierto de Aranjuez

We’re back in Spain, in the sweltering heat of Madrid with this beautiful classical guitar concerto, filled with swelling melodies and melancholic emotion, all while bringing to life the aristocratic essence of an 18th-century court.

Felix Mendelssohn – A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Leave it to Shakespeare to describe the perfect summer evening and Mendelssohn to capture it in music. Within Shakespeare’s tranquil and playful setting, Mendelssohn creates a sweeping Intermezzo, an enchanting Nocturne and an impish Scherzo. An exquisite listen during summer months.

Max Richter – On the Nature of Daylight

Modern composer Max Richter’s deeply beautiful reflective ‘On the Nature of Daylight’ has lent itself perfectly to cinematic use. A calming, contemplative work for gentle reflection, as the sun sets on the day.


This coming April we’ll welcome Finnish group Rajaton for the Ultimate ABBA Tribute in our Live at the WSO series. And since ABBA is the ultimate summer band, here’s one more tune for our end of summer playlist.