Hi everyone, here are our lucky seven musical streaming* suggestions for the week.
(Click on the album cover to stream the album.)
Today, Friday, June 21, 2019 is the summer solstice. The summer solstice, in the northern hemisphere, is the longest day of the year and the first day of summer. After today the days start getting shorter until we reach the first day of winter on the winter solstice – December 22, 2019; then the days will again get a little longer each day until the 2020 summer solstice.
The word “solstice” and its older cousin “Litha” refer to the longest day of the year when the Earth’s axis is as close to the sun as it ever gets in its early trip around the sun. And the most famous place in the western hemisphere to actually see the summer solstice is at Stonehenge; where the prehistoric circle of standing stones was engineered so that if you stand in the circle of stones and ace northeast toward the entrance, toward what is known as the Heel Stone, you’ll see the sun rise above the Heel Stone. Thousands of peoples congregate at Stonehenge in the hours before dawn on the summer solstice to witness the incredible light display and to festively welcome summer.
In Europe Midsummer, a celebration of the solstice, occurs between June 21 and June 25 the exact date varying by country. Midsummer celebrations include the building of bon fires, feasting, dancing and generally making merry whist welcoming summer.
And in celebration of the fact that summer is finally here, despite all the rain we’ve been having, this week our musical suggestions all relate to the solstice and midsummer celebrations!
And without further ado here are the solsticey-summery listening suggestions for the week!
Celtic Solstice by Paul Winter & Friends (Genre: New Age, Celtic, Jazz, Classical – great music!):
You might think Paul Winter’s Celtic Solstice is a more appropriate album to listen to during winter solstice. However, Paul Winter plays summer solstice music too!
Celtic Solstice is a terrific, ethereal album and includes the songs Golden Apples of the Sun, Hollow Hills, Dawnwalker, My Fair Faithful Love and The Minstrel’s Adieu.
On a related Paul Winter music note, since we are close enough in our region for one to easily visit New York City, just as an FYI, Paul Winter has given a sunrise summer solstice concert every year for the last 23 years at The Cathedral Church of Saint John The Divine in Manhattan. And today he is giving his 24th annual summer solstice concert there. The Paul Winter Consort has a residency at the Cathedral of Saint John The Divine, so if you like their music you might check their website, or like Paul Winter’s Facebook page, to keep track of upcoming concerts and you might perhaps, one year, go to New York and attend the annual Paul Winter Summer Solstice Concert!
And for those of us who aren’t able to get to New York City, Paul Winter is graciously offering a free download of his summer solstice music which is accessible through the Summer Solstice site and via the following link:
Litha (2011) by Skarazula (Genre: Medieval, Ancient Music, World Music):
Sharazula is a Montreal based trio consisting of Francois Rainville, Steve Grenier and Francois Perron. The group plays music from the medieval era on modern versions of medieval stringed instruments, and listening to their music is like going back in time. This, their 2011 release, is titled Litha, which is an old name for the summer solstice and sets the tone for the album.
Songs on the LP include Dans ar keriadenn, Kurdi azeri, Tre fontane, La rosa enflorece, Tarantella and Taqsim.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Complete Incidental Music & Play by The Scottish Chamber Orchestra & Scottish Philharmonic Singers, Conducted by Jamie Laredo (Genre: Classical):
The renowned Scottish Chamber Orchestra & the Scottish Philharmonic Singers offer a treat in presenting the complete incidental music composed by Mendelson for William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream – perfect for summer listening!
Songs on the album include A Midsummer Night’s Dream: The Scene. Overture, A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Act One, Scene One, A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Fairy March, Oberion Creeping, Begomask Dance, Wedding March and Finale.
A Midsummer Night’s Jazz by Signe Juhl & Nikolaj Bentzon Trio (Genre: Jazz):
“In the warm midsummer of 2015, a tour around Denmark brought Signe Juhl and Nikolaj Bentzon Trio to Jazzhus Montmartre in the heart of Copenhagen. The music and the atmosphere from the two nights they played has now been made to last forever with the new record, A Midsummer Night’s Jazz, which is released in April 2016 on Denmark’s great jazz label, Storyville Records.
There’s something unique about listening to live music: And jazz – that living, playful and impulsive music – should be experienced at close range. A Midsummer Night’s Jazz captures this special and intense live feel. With the Nikolaj Bentzon Trio the energy is guaranteed to reach new heights. Espen Laub von Lillienskjold (drums) delivers both nerve and elegance to the quick swing classics and soulful ballads. Nikolaj Bentzon (piano) has a unique ability to bring new life to well-known standards with groovy and swinging riffs among other creative impulses. The interplay between him and his musical partner Signe Juhl (vocals) is unrivalled.
In the last few years, their close companionship has resulted in several releases – for example Signe Juhl’s debut Silver Tongued and the large-scale symphony Bluray-release Luxury Jazz. And 31-year old Juhl is an extraordinarily noteworthy contributor to the Danish musical stage. She is a full-grown vocalist with an extraordinary depth and vocal span for our Northern latitudes. Her excess in melodic skill often brings her to new and interesting places in songs, you used to think you already knew. She possesses, in other words, a true jazz instinct. It’s swinging!” Storyville Records
Songs on the album include When You’re Smilin’, It Don’t Mean A Thing, Dinah, Night Piece, You’ve Changed and I Cover The Waterfront.
Spiritual Music for Midsummer Solstice in Stonehenge by Various Artists (Litha, Midsommarafton, Sommersonnenwende, Sankthansaften, Enyovden, Ukon Juhla, Inti Raymi, Pachakuti) (Genre: World Music):
This various artist collection of reflective music has a middle eastern vibe to it. I wasn’t able to discover much online about the artists on the album. However, this is an ethereal collection of music perfect for contemplating the arrive of summer!
Songs in the collection include India by Saint Spirit, Leit Motiv by Lukkah, El Camino de Regreso (Return Way) by Pedro Gonzalez and Deserto de Atacama by Alexander Gonzalez.
Summer Solstice: A Windham Hill Collection (1997) by Various Artists (Genre: New Age, Acoustic, World Music):
A collection of songs that complement the season by some of Windham Hill’s finest artists including Will Ackerman, Liz Story, George Winston, David Arkenstone and Philip Aaberg.
Songs in the set include Summer Solstice by Sean Harkness, In Our Jasmine Days by Paul McCandless, Summer from Vivaldi’s ‘The Four Seasons’ by Tracy Silverman and The Warmth of the Sun/Surfer Girl by Philip Aaberg & Scott Matthews.
Summer Solstice (1995/2007) by Slavek Hanzlik (Genre: Bluegrass, Folk, Roots):
Slavek Hanzlik is a very versatile guitarist who plays a mixture of bluegrass, folk, jazz and country music; and on this release he has a stellular group of supporting musicians including Bela Fleck on banjo, Tim O’Brien on mandolin, Mark Schatz on bass banjo and Rob Ickes on dobro.
Songs on the LP include Summer Solstice, Wind In The Heather, My Grandfather’s Clock, Pauper’s Cotillion and Sally Noggin.
Videos of the Week:
Golden Apples of the Sun by Paul Winter & Friends
Sweet Cameraghs by Paul Winter & Friends
Dans ar keriadenn by Skarazula
Kurdi azeri by Skarazula
A Midsummer Night’s Dream: The Scene. Overture by Scottish Chamber Orchestra & Scottish Philharmonic Singers
A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Wedding March by Scottish Chamber Orchestra & Scottish Philharmonic Singers
Night Piece by Signe Juhl & Nikolaj Bentzon Trio
When You’re Smilin’ by Signe Juhl & Nikolaj Bentzon Trio
Flores Tristes (Sad Flowers) by Pedro Gonzalez
India by Saint Spirit
Summer Solstice by Sean Harkness
The Warmth of the Sun/Surfer Girl by Philip Aaberg & Scott Matthews
Wind In The Heather by Slavek Hanzlik with Bela Fleck
My Grandmother’s Clock by Slavek Hanzlik with Rob Ickes
Have a great weekend!
Linda Reimer, SSCL
The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits by Joel Whitburn
History of Stonehendge, English Heritage
Midsummer in Sweden: Origins and Traditions, Real Scandinavia, http://realscandinavia.com/midsummer-in-sweden-origins-and-traditions/
Midsummer Night’s Jazz, https://www.storyvillerecords.com/products/a-midsummer-nights-jazz-1018455
Midsummer, Sweden, https://sweden.se/culture-traditions/midsummer/
Paul Winter’s Solstice Celebrations, http://solsticeconcert.com/summersolstice/
Scottish Chamber Orchestra, https://www.sco.org.uk/
Sharazula, Magnature, Online, http://magnatune.com/artists/skarazula/
The Summer Solstice and its Celtic Traditions by John Cunningham, June 20, 2015 Etc. Ancient History, Online, http://etc.ancient.eu/education/summer-solstice-celtic-traditions/
The Summer Solstice will be welcomed through the rhythmic beat of drums written by Kate Day Sager, Olean Times Herald, June 18, 2019, http://www.oleantimesherald.com/olean/summer-solstice-will-be-welcomed-through-the-rhythmic-beat-of/article_265861d6-f63f-58b1-bfb5-25f188697e62.html
The Summer Solstice, June 21, 2011, BBC, https://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/paganism/holydays/summersolstice.shtml
The Summer solstice: Traditions around the world, Daisy Carrington for CNN, June 2019, https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/summer-solstice-world-traditions/index.html
The Summer Solstice Weekend, New York Botanical Garden, https://www.nybg.org/event/summer-solstice-weekend/
*Freegal is a free streaming music service available for free to library cardholders of all Southern Tier Library System member libraries. STLS member libraries include all the public libraries in Steuben, Chemung, Yates, Schuyler, and Allegany counties — including our own Southeast Steuben County Library.
You can download the Freegal music app to your mobile device or access the desktop version of the site by clicking on the following link:
*The Freegal service offers library card holders the option to download, and keep, three free songs per week and to stream three hours of commercial free music each day.
Tech Talk is a Southeast Steuben County Library blog.