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As the golden sun kisses the land and gentle sea breezes sway the eucalyptus leaves, this playlist captures the essence of a warm, hopeful Summer. With each song, MSO Double Bass Stephen Newton transports you to sun-kissed evenings, echoing laughter, and the scent of blooming wildflowers. Let these playlists be your soundtrack to long summer days and starlit nights in this beautiful land down under.

So, this is my summer list!

Let me make one point here, it’s not my desert island list of music. However, these pieces remind of summer for different reasons, and I’d often listen to many of them during that season.

Stevie's Songs That Celebrate Summer

Sumer is icumen in

I sang Sumer Is Icumen In at uni with a small vocal group. Ever since then, whenever the weather starts to warm up, I can’t avoid but sing the tune in my head….Over and over and over!!


As a member of MSO, I’ve played the Messiah many times. There are smash hits throughout and it leaves me with ear worms the whole summer. The only way I can settle them is to listen to a recording. On a side, Charles Daniels is my favourite tenor, hence the selection (this is a make-or-break aria for the tenor in my opinion).

A Soulful Celebration

After this, I must listen to the funk version of the Messiah, A Soulful Celebration. Dianne Reeves’ singing in this aria/chorus sends me wild!!

The Nutcracker

I also LOVE The Nutcracker! This recording is amazing!!!! I get jealous of the ballet orchestras who play this every Christmas! I could listen to this whole work each day of the year, it has everything.

Duke Ellington's Nutcracker Suite

My partner’s sister introduced me to the jazz version of the Nutcracker made by Duke Ellington. I love Ellington and his jazz contemporaries. I find it particularly characterful music, all the instruments sound like a different person at one great party!

Once in Royal David’s City

Even though I’m not an Anglican, I sang in an Anglican Choir from the age 8 to 21, so the music I was exposed to there has had lifelong impact. When I was head choir boy, I sang the opening solo verse of Once in Royal David’s City. I did that a few Christmases and I loved the candle lit procession the choir made throughout the carol-hymn during the midnight mass.

Bach's Christmas Oratorio Jauchzet Frohlocket

On Christmas Day, the first thing I put on is Bach’s Christmas Oratorio. No need to say anymore on that, Bach is the Alpha und Omega!

The Pieces of the Compass Rose

The Mauricio Kagel work might seem like a screw ball. The reason for the inclusion is my dream job would be one where I could play bass, sing and write music for and in a small salon orchestra. I could play music like this all year round. I was listening to this work in Adelaide last summer on a particularly hot day outside, the effect was almost hallucinatory. Please wear sun protection if you try this!

Die tote Stadt

Finally, the Korngold duet. The fact that such a young man wrote this piece is mind blowing. The effects he creates with background strings sound like silk flags rippling in a breeze, the beauty of the vocal lines, the poise of the cadences…ahh!!!! It is one of the most beautiful things I have ever heard, and when the heat of the summer has gone for the day, and the cool night air comes gently through your window, put this on and you’ll reach complete satisfaction.

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