Chill Out With This Summertime Classical Music Playlist

Jun 18, 2018

Music for summer — you probably think of Antonio Vivaldi's Four Seasons, maybe George Frideric Handel's Water Music or Summer Night on the River by Frederick Delius. Estimable choices, all.

But there's a world of work by less-familiar composers who wrote amazingly evocative music that captures the lazy, languid days and nights of summer.

Jennifer Higdon, Matthew Dunne, Gotthard Odermatt, Libby Larsen — just to name a few.

Find a shady spot to watch the sunbeams stretch. Or settle into your favorite place to see fireflies flicker in the night.

While enjoying these lazy days of summer, try out this list of surprisingly chill music and let us know what you think.

Classical 101's Surprising Summer Chill playlist features several selections from American composer Jennifer Higdon, who won a 2018 Grammy Award for her recording All Things Majestic, Viola Concerto, and Oboe Concerto.

On this list, hear Higdon's "String Lake" from that album, along with "Summer Shimmers Across the Glass of Green Ponds" and "Blue Sky."

Guitarist Jerome Ducharme won the Guitar Foundation of America Competition playing "Appalachian Summer" by American classical and jazz composer Matthew Dunne. Ducharme's on this list, playing the work in Oberlin, Ohio, back in 2005.

It's hard to find information (at least in English!) about oboist and composer Gotthard Odermatt. But you don't need to listen to his Three Images for Oboe and Orchestra with your brain — your ears and heart will open to the beauty of the music.

While listening to Three Images, I'm reminded at times of Joseph Canteloube's "Songs of the Auvergne." (You should check those out, too, if you like French vocal music.)

Ohio native Rick Sowash takes an "Americanist and regionalist" approach to composition; his music is tonal, accessible, melodic and often pastoral. "Victorian Garden" is from his Cape May Suite.

Libby Larsen is one of the most-performed and most-recorded of living American composers. She's represented on this list by her "Deep Summer Music." It's a meditative work, depicting the landscape of the Midwest.

Astor Piazzolla, Dan Locklair, Reynaldo Hahn, Arnold Bax and Jean Francaix round out the composers on our playlist. Take some time to chill this summer with the perfect seasonal music, recommended by Classical 101.