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Jane Jones introduces six works which conjure up summertime even if the weather outside doesn't live up to expectations for the season.
Few pieces evoke the warmth and passion of sunny spain than Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez. The ever-popular guitar concerto is named after a famous royal site on the shore of the River Tagus, not far from Madrid, along the road to Andalusia. The composer himself said, 'In its melody the perfume of magnolias lingers, the singing of birds and the gushing of fountains.' It's played today by Pepe Romero with Sir Neville Marriner conducting the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields.
Eric Coates' Summer Days Suite depicts three seasonal scenes - In a Country Lane, which recalls the pastoral nature of Vaughan-Williams’ music; On the Edge of the Lake; and At the Dance, a waltz-time piece that is reminiscent of the Strauss family and Franz Lehar, both of whom Coates much admired. The suite was first performed in 1920 and its third movement in particular became a favourite.
The Czech composer Josef Suk wrote his three pieces for piano, Summer Impressions, in 1902. They are titled At Noon, Children at Play and Evening Mood, and they are played this evening by Margaret Fingerhut.
In a Summer Garden is a fantasy for orchestra composed in 1908 by Frederick Delius, pictured. The published score of the fantasy contains two quotations which provide some clue as to its content. The first is a couplet by Dante Gabriel Rossetti: 'All are my blooms; and all sweet blooms of love. To thee I gave while Spring and Summer sang.' The origin of the second quote is not known. It reads: 'Roses, lilies, and a thousand scented flowers. Bright butterflies, flitting from petal to petal. Beneath the shade of ancient trees, a quiet river with water lilies. In a boat, almost hidden, two people. A thrush is singing in the distance.' The piece is performed tonight by the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Barry Wordsworth.
Hugo Alfven's Swedish Rhapsody No. 1 - subtitled Midsummer Vigil - is a symphonic rhapsody written in 1903. It's Alfven's best known piece - the main melody has even been used on ice cream vans in some parts of the UK.
The Cotswolds symphony by Gustav Holst is in four movements - the second being a lament for the great Socialist craftsman and writer William Morris who had died in October 1896, three years before Holst began work on the piece. It was premiered in 1902.
Rodrigo: Concierto de Aranjuez
Guitar: Pepe Romero
Neville Marriner conducts the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Eric Coates: Summer Days Suite
John Wilson conducts the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Josef Suk: Summer Impressions
Piano: Margaret Fingerhut
Frederick Delius: In a Summer Garden
Barry Wordsworth conducts the London Symphony Orchestra
Hugo Alfven: Swedish Rhapsody No.1 (‘Midsummer Vigil’)
Neeme Jarvi conducts the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
Gustav Holst: Symphony in F major (‘The Cotswolds’)
Douglas Bostock conducts the Munich Symphony Orchestra