Summertimes: summer music with the Berliner Philharmoniker

Summertimes: summer music with the Berliner Philharmoniker
  • Richard Wagner
    Siegfried Idyll (version for 13 instruments) (21 min.)

    Berliner Philharmoniker

    Bernard Haitink

  • Josef Suk
    Pohádka léta (A Summer’s Tale), Symphonic Poem, op. 29 (51 min.)

    Berliner Philharmoniker

    Kirill Petrenko

  • Hector Berlioz
    Les Nuits d’été for soprano and orchestra, op. 7 (31 min.)

    Berliner Philharmoniker

    François-Xavier Roth

    Anna Caterina Antonacci Soprano

  • Ottorino Respighi
    Fontane di Roma (17 min.)

    Berliner Philharmoniker

    Riccardo Chailly

  • Claude Debussy
    Images pour orchestre: Ibéria (22 min.)

    Berliner Philharmoniker

    Juanjo Mena

  • George Gershwin
    Porgy and Bess: “Summertime” (6 min.)

    Berliner Philharmoniker

    Kent Nagano

    Susan Graham Mezzo-soprano

  • Betsy Jolas
    A Little Summer Suite (première) (13 min.)

    Berliner Philharmoniker

    Sir Simon Rattle

  • Felix Mendelssohn
    A Midsummer Night’s Dream, incidental music, op. 61: Excerpts (45 min.)

    Berliner Philharmoniker

    Claudio Abbado

    Deborah York Soprano, Stella Doufexis Mezzo-Soprano, Women of the Bavarian Radio Chorus, Konstantia Gourzi Chorus Master

Over the centuries, the different seasons have repeatedly inspired composers to create outstanding works: Antonio Vivaldi, Joseph Haydn and Astor Piazzolla translated the natural cycle of spring, summer, autumn and winter completely into sound, Robert Schumann wrote a Spring Symphony, Igor Stravinsky his ballet Le Sacre du printemps, and Franz Schubert a winter journey – Winterreise.

Our playlist brings together works in performances by the Philharmoniker inspired by summer. The climatic and emotional degrees of heat conveyed in the music vary considerably – depending on whether one finds oneself in the ancient Athens of Felix Mendelssohn’s shimmering, sensuous Midsummer Night’s Dream, in the sultriness of the American South with Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, in the Spain of your dreams with Debussy, or with Respighi’s Fontane di Roma in what the composer described as the “freshly humid haze of a Roman dawn”.

Richard Wagner allowed himself a summer break, so to speak, from his demanding work on the Ring when he composed the beguilingly lyrical Siegfried Idyll for his wife Cosima’s birthday in 1870. For Josef Suk, who Kirill Petrenko holds in particularly high regard, the invocation of summer also had a symbolic meaning: his A Summer’s Tale, shimmering in Impressionistic colours, is an attempt to overcome a serious life crisis through creative work.