Philharmonia Orchestra - Beethoven Symphony No 6

Philharmonia Orchestra - Beethoven Symphony No 6

Catalogue Code: 782002

Barcode: 5050457820022

Release Date: 22 Aug 2011

Beethoven's uniqueness lies in the fact that the sources of his genius lay in both worlds, that is, of Classicism and Romanticism, the conflicting ideals of which he united into something transcending them both by his great vision and personality. The "Pastoral" Symphony shows very clearly the contrasted sources of his inspiration. Its form is that of a classical symphony, and, in spite of individual features in its construction, it is logical throughout, and has no loose ends which are not integral to its general design. It is a direct, personal expression of Beethoven the nature-lover. It is interesting to notice that the first movement is headed, "Awakening of pleasant feelings upon arriving in the country." Even in the later movements, where we have more explicit musical painting, the various imitative devices are always part of the structure, and not useless encumbrances like boils on the neck. The second movement, "Scene at the Brook," is a perfectly constructed "Andante", and the murmurous flow of the water, beautifully represented by the lower strings with two muted solo violoncellos, is also functional on strictly classical lines as an accompaniment to the main themes. Even the bird-songs at the end of the movement are answered by a fragment from an earlier melody, and make a normal pair of four-bar phrases. They are formally a conventional finish to the movement, but, as it were, a slightly coloured one. "The Peasants' Merrymaking" is a "Scherzo", the form that Beethoven developed out of the earlier Minuet and Trio of Haydn and Mozart. Again, one can listen to it and enjoy it as pure music, irrespective of its non-musical association. It leads straight into the fourth movment, "The Storm", where the realism of the work becomes most marked. We hear the patter of raindrops on the violins, with ominous mutterings on the cellos and double-basses, and the suddenly the storm breaks, with a burst of sound on the full orchestra, together with the drums, which are used in no other part of the work. Similarly the piccolo is used in this movement alone. The storm becomes fiercer, and reaches its climax with the entry of the alto and tenor trombones. The bass trombone is omitted, which is unusual, as the convention was to use three trombones. As the storm dies away, a short lyrical melody is played by the oboes and violins, which is obviously based on the "raindrop" figure at the beginning of the movement, and a rising scale on the flute leads straight into the last movement, "Shepherds' Hymn after the Storm", which is a normal classical "Rondo". As regards the form of the fourth movement, it is perhaps best described as an introduction to the "finale".

1. Symphony No. 6 In F Major - "Pastoral": First Movement
2. Symphony No. 6 In F Major - "Pastoral": Second Movement
3. Symphony No. 6 In F Major - "Pastoral": Third to Fifth Movement