Pastoral Symphony

Concert 29.8

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Pastoral Symphony

Join Beethoven for a day in the country and envision yourself at Tippett´s Ritual Dances, a concert on nature.

“Awakening of cheerful feelings upon arrival in the country.”

That is how Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827) opened his popular Symphony No. 6, The Pastoral Symphony. Beethoven loved nature and often fled the hustle and bustle of city life in Vienna to wander the Austrian countryside undisturbed. Through the music, Beethoven describes the beautiful natural surroundings and his feelings about them. The strings portray the murmuring water that courses in the streams and the woodwind section mimics the happy songs of birds. Then, in the fourth movement, a violent storm builds; growing from just a few drops of rain into a full-blooded storm with lightning and thunder, strong winds and lashing rain squalls. Eventually the storm passes and the music shifts instead into a gentle prayer.

English composer Sir Michael Tippett (1905–1998) was a great admirer of Beethoven. His own orchestral work, Ritual Dances, also has a natural setting – in a forest, to be exact – the place where two lovers meet. The music was originally written for the opera The Midsummer Marriage; one of Tippett's best-known and most personal compositions. Tippett, who was openly homosexual, often raised the issue of gender roles in his work and the opera is full of symbols and psychological references. Many who saw the piece felt that the plot was difficult to follow, although the music itself was very well received.

Conducting this performance is Rumon Gamba, who will begin the concert with an introduction to Ritual Dances.

Tippett: Ritual Dances from The Midsummer Marriage
Beethoven: Symfoni no 6 (Pastoral Symphony)

Conductor: Rumon Gamba