KUSC is here to help you get the most out of your Summer. So we asked our hosts to recommend music for some iconic California summer experiences. Whether you’re sipping iced tea poolside, filling up the kiddie pool, or just dreaming of dipping your toes in the deep end, Brian Lauritzen’s playlist is the perfect soundtrack for lounging by the pool.
Maurice Ravel: Jeux d’eau
Okay, technically the meaning of this title is “Fountain,” rather than the more literal translation of “Water Games,” and perhaps both are a bit on the nose for a classical music poolside hang, but this music is totally in the splash zone.
Strauss, Jr. (arr. Desenne) Tritsch-Tratsch-Polka “Triqui Traqui”
You said party, didn’t you? This one is Viennese…until it’s not. Venezuelan composer Paul Desenne has added a whole lotta Latin swing to this formerly buttoned-up polka.
Meredith Monk: Eon
This is a contemplative moment from a larger dance work about climate change called “On Behalf of Nature.” A duet for bass clarinet and vibraphone which proves you can find beauty in the most unexpected places.
Joseph Haydn: String Quartet in C major, Op. 20, No. 2
Collectively, the six Op. 20 string quartets are known as the “Sun” quartets, which makes them perfect for an afternoon lounging by the pool. Sure, they’re actually known as the “Sun” quartets because the publisher put a picture of a sunrise on the title page of the score, but that doesn’t make them any less perfect for basking in the sun.
George Frederic Handel: Ombra Mai Fu
Following one of the “Sun” quartets with an aria extolling the virtues of shade? Sure, why not!
Dana Suesse: Concerto in Three Rhythms
If you like Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, you owe it to yourself to give this piece a spin. It was written for the same concert (albeit a subsequent iteration) as Rhapsody in Blue and orchestrated by the same composer (Ferde Grofé) as Gershwin’s classic. And it’s a boppin’ way to wrap up a summertime classical poolside playlist.
Brian Lauritzen is the weekday afternoon drive host on Classical KUSC and host of the nationally-syndicated radio broadcasts of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.