Summer Music: Think Spring
When we think of summer from the vantage of spring, it looks like a bunch of green, pleasant weeks, warm and succulent. We forget about oppressive heat, nasty insects and a tendency to throw lightning bolts our way. My summer song therefore is actually a brink-of-summer piece, the Violin Concerto No. 1 by Camille Saint-Saëns.
It wasn’t (to my knowledge) intended as such, but it conjoins a springlike merriment with bursts of summer surprise. A short snort from the orchestra summons five slashing violin chords, and then they’re off on a 12-minute romp that’s sunny and silly and with only a sprinkle or two to moisten its mood. Soon there’s a theme that sails up a triad and falls back again in tremulous bursts, sounding like one of those transitional days into a windows-open night. The piece never found a regular home in the concert hall, but you can find it on YouTube, and now’s the time of year to check it out. Having said which, the finest depiction of summer in ballad form is the song “Lazy Afternoon” by Jerome Moross and John Latouche, from their unheralded masterpiece The Golden Apple. Now we’re in the midst of a hot, sunny day, “And the beetle bugs are zoomin’/And the tulip trees are bloomin’/And there’s not another human in view/But us two.”
– Metroland Magazine, 4 June 2015