Beethoven – Pastorale

Once again, Beethoven on Deutsche Grammophon, #138 805, and the Berliner Philharmoniker conducted by Herbert Von Karajan.

I often enough have bits of this symphony in my head, as I rattle around my days, and it never fails to uplift me.

So, here we have Beethoven’s 6th Symphony in F major, which you’ve heard in Disney’s Fantasia, the Simpsons, and Spongebob.

The Pastoral Symphony has 5 movements (rather than the typical 4):

1. Allegro ma non troppo (Awakening of cheerful feelings on arrival in the countryside) [F major]
2. Andante molto mosso (Scene by the brook) [Bb major]
3. Allegro (Merry gathering of country folk) [F major] 
4. Thunder, Storm [F major] 
5. Shepherd’s song. Cheerful and thankful feelings after the storm [F major] 

“Beethoven was a lover of nature who spent a great deal of his time on walks in the country. He frequently left Vienna to work in rural locations. The composer said that the Sixth Symphony is “more the expression of feeling than painting”, a point underlined by the title of the first movement.

The first sketches of the Pastoral Symphony appeared in 1802. It was composed simultaneously with Beethoven’s more famous—and fierier—Fifth Symphony. Both symphonies were premiered in a long and under-rehearsed concert in the Theater an der Wien in Vienna on 22 December 1808.

Frank A. D’Accone suggested that Beethoven borrowed the programmatic ideas (a shepherd’s pipe, birds singing, streams flowing, and a thunderstorm) for his five-movement narrative layout from Le Portrait musical de la Nature ou Grande Symphonie, which was composed by Justin Heinrich Knecht (1752–1817) in 1784.” (Wiki)

Brilliant, beautiful. You can’t help but feel happy listening to this.


10 thoughts on “Beethoven – Pastorale

    1. keepsmealive says:

      Pretty damn popular, for sure. “Generally regarded as one of the greatest conductors of the 20th century, he was a controversial but dominant figure in European classical music from the mid-1950s until his death. Part of the reason for this was the large number of recordings he made and their prominence during his lifetime. By one estimate he was the top-selling classical music recording artist of all time, having sold an estimated 200 million records.”

      Liked by 1 person

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