15 Best Classical Music Tracks for Summer


June 25, 2021, 5:19 PM

15 glorious pieces of classical music for the summer.

Image: Getty

Lie back, feel the warmth of the sun and let these brilliant summer melodies take you on a musical journey from the fervent peak of summer to the peaceful sunset at the end of the day.

Now that the first day of summer has shone upon us, ring in the sunny months ahead with these glorious classic melodies, courtesy of Vivaldi, Albéniz, Gershwin and more.

And for an ongoing playlist of summer music, hit play now on Classic FM Summer on Global Player, the official Classic FM app.

  1. Vivaldi – Summer

    Fly to Venice and spend a summer under the Italian sun with this virtuoso baroque concerto. Watch out for its passionate storms…

    Read more: Discover Vivaldi’s Four Seasons

  2. Albéniz – Asturias

    Originally written for the piano, this flamenco-style rhythmic work by Catalan composer and pianist Isaac Albéniz has become one of the most important works in the classical guitar repertoire.

  3. Marquez – Conga del Fuego

    This fantastically energetic work is a frenetic, joyous dance – incredibly catchy in its rhythms, a new classic favorite of the last ten years or so and an immediate reminder of the euphoria of summer.

  4. Delius – Hearing the first cuckoo of spring

    Based on a melody from an old Norwegian folksong “In Ola Valley”, this beautiful symphonic poem is among English composer Delius’ most beloved pieces. Hear the instruments of the orchestra mimic the natural sounds of the cuckoo – from strings to woodwinds.

  5. Tereso Carreño – Mi Teresita (Little Waltz)

    This is a lovely song for solo piano, written by 19th-century Venezuelan concert pianist and composer Teresa Carreño for her daughter, Teresita. During his concerts, Carreño often played this charming piece as an encore.

  6. Gershwin – Daylight saving time

    It started as an operatic aria from Porgy and Bess, then became a reggae hit, and finally a jazz staple. Gershwin’s sultry songwriting with a hint of melancholy lent itself to every genre imaginable, making “Summertime” the most covered song in the world.

  7. Respighi – The Pines of Rome

    Glimmering with anticipation from the offbeat, this delightful symphonic poem opens with a musical painting of children playing in the pine forests and ends with trumpet fanfares to represent a marching band.

  8. Beethoven – Romance No. 2 in F major

    A warmth practically radiates from this romantic violin work – sublime, and yet somewhat sad in its innocence and sweetness, as we remember Beethoven composing the piece while accepting the tragedy of his deafness, probably for the first time.

  9. Debussy – Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun

    This delicious symphonic poem tells the story of the mythical faun who, enchanted by the nymphs and the naiads of the woods, falls asleep. Don’t be surprised if Debussy’s famous chromatic opening flute solo and shimmering harp lines drift you into your own sleep, as they mimic the languid warmth of a summer afternoon.

  10. Rodrigo – Concierto de Aranjuez

    Journey to Spain’s sweltering capital with this magnificent classical guitar concerto, filled to the brim with swelling melodies and melancholic emotion, while bringing to life the aristocratic essence of an 18th-century court.

  11. Mendelssohn – A Midsummer Night’s Dream

    In Shakespeare’s tranquil but playful setting, Mendelssohn places a radical Intermezzo, an enchanting Nocturne and a rather mischievous Scherzo. This music is an exquisite listen during the warmer months.

  12. Camille Pépin – Soothed, woody

    The gently throbbing work for orchestra by rising star French composer Camille Pépin induces a state of dreamlike musical bliss. It practically sings of summer and new growth, as woodwinds, brass and strings take turns breaking through the earth and finding sunlight.

  13. Glazunov – The seasons

    Glazunov’s ballet Seasons creates four tableaux based on the changing of the seasons, and “Summer” is about a delightfully rural scene. As water is brought to cool the flowers, which bask in the warmth of the sun, the Corn Spirit dances in thanksgiving. Is it the image of summer or what?

  14. Still William Grant – Summerland

    A softer choice now, this celestial work by William Grant Still – the first African-American composer to conduct a major American symphony orchestra – is the second movement of a three-part solo piano suite, which tells the story of the journey of a human soul after death. If life has been good, the soul can enter ‘Summerland’.

  15. Richter – On the Nature of Daylight

    Modern composer Max Richter’s profoundly beautiful and thoughtful “On the Nature of Daylight” lent itself perfectly to cinematic use. A calming and contemplative work for soft reflection, as the sun sets on the day.


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