For this week’s installment of our Collective Listening Project, we asked you for your suggestions for music for a classic summer road trip. Perhaps it was music that you learned during a vacation, a favorite that you experienced at a special summer music festival, or a long-beloved classic that you save for a long drive. Your response was tremendous—so much so that we’re devoting the next two playlists to your picks!
We are still taking submissions if this list inspires you. Simply fill out this form, offering a favorite piece and a brief explanation describing its relationship to travel, vacation, or summer and its significance for you. The form will accept only one piece, but you may submit the form multiple times for additional pieces. Thank you for your suggestions!
ANTONIN DVORÁK Symphony No. 8
Submitted by Dasha Koltunyuk, Marketing Manager/PUC
I was introduced to this piece by pianist Ian Brown, whom I met on the PUC series, and listened to this symphony on repeat on a train going through Switzerland the summer after my junior year in college. The third movement in particular is reminiscent of the gentle, smooth motion forward surrounded by nature (a world away from the jarring Amtrak experience...)
HENRY PURCELL Fairy Queen “Here’s the summer, Sprightly Gay”
Submitted by John Burkhalter, Subscription Manager/PUC
Every summer for years and years (either on country roads cycling with ear phones or at home) I have “revisited” Purcell’s marvelous theatre production “The Fairy Queen” (1692) a semi opera in a prologue and five acts in turn based on actor/impresario Thomas Betterton’s adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare. This restoration spectacular, complete with magically appearing grottos and woods, swans, peacocks, god and goddesses, and troupes of fairies all in elaborate allegorical costumes, is quintessentially English. Take delight listening especially to the Act IV song “Here’s the Summer, Sprightly Gay.”
MAX AVERY LICHTENSTEIN “Tarnation”
Submitted by Tom Uhlein, Graphic Designer/PUC
I discovered this piece about 10 years ago during a summer road trip through parts of the Midwest. The piece was instantly included in our driving play list as we traveled the winding roads of South Dakota, Wyoming, and Colorado. The music continues to be a part of a number of my play lists to this day. Enjoy!
LOWELL LIEBERMANN Nocturne-Fantasy, Op. 69
Submitted by Laura Oltman, Guitarist/Princeton Performance Faculty
This work was commissioned for my husband and me with funding from the Edward T. Cone Foundation. It was premiered at the Raritan River Music Festival on the hottest possible Memorial Day weekend. Lowell and his mom came to the performance, in an un-airconditioned historic church. He wore a white linen suit for the occasion. The piece is kind of a journey by itself, very beautiful and contemplative. It would make great listening for late night summer driving.
ANGELIQUE KIDJO Voodoo Chile
Submitted by Donna Raskin, PUC Patron
This version of Jimi Hendrix' song kept me hopeful on a drive from Birmingham, Alabama to Brooklyn, New York in 2001.
MARK KNOPFLER Sailing to Philadelphia
Submitted by Barbara Kirsh, PUC Patron
This beautiful ballad sung by James Taylor and Mark Knopfler tells of the voyage from England to the new US by Mason and Dixon, full of hope and worry about expanding their life opportunities.
SAMUEL BARBER Dover Beach
Submitted by Brandon Gaines, PUC Subscriber & Princeton University Concerts Committee Chair
I feel this piece is particularly appropriate given the beauty described in Matthew Arnold's lyric poem, but there are also undertones of sadness. This summer many of us are seeking a change of scenery - and beautiful scenery at that - but we are also a bit sad as our typical vacations and visits with family and friends have been canceled or significantly altered.
ROBERT SCHUMANN Symphony No. 3, “Rhenish”
Submitted by Mariana Olaizola, Princeton class of '13, former member of the Student Ambassadors of PUC
NIKOLAI RIMSKY-KORSAKOV The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh and the Maiden Fevroniya
KEVIN VOLANS String Quartet No. 2
Submitted by composer Julian Grant, PUC Patron
I was working with English National Opera in Moscow, St Petersburg, and Kiev, many summers ago, and encountered this piece for the first time then: it simply blew me away. Rimsky-Korsakov then, less so now, was considered a lightweight, and I hadn't realized he could be capable of writing such a profound and complex piece. Great for long car journeys, as it unfolds in a leisurely way!
The quartet by Kevin Volans is a reminder of a magical trip to South Africa last summer: such travel scarcely seems possible from the vantage point of 2020.
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