The “Pastorale” Symphony and the “Emperor” Piano Concerto, one named by Ludwig van Beethoven and the other by a friend, are splendid examples of Beethoven’s musical acumen. These pieces are more formally known as Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 and Piano Concerto No. 5. This concert report will cover both pieces and will contain my impressions of each piece.
Symphony No. 6 “Pastorale” was performed by the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, and was conducted by Paavo Jarvi during their Beethoven series. Piano Concerto No. 5 “Emperor” was performed by Murray Perahia (Piano) accompanied by the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, conducted by Neville Marriner. The dates of the performances are not known because this is a review of an E-concert recording. I will begin with the piece that was personally named by Ludwig Van Beethoven, “Pastorale”
“Pastorale” is a five movement symphony, the only one with five movements that Beethoven wrote. Each movement is individually titled although Beethoven noted that the names were merely suggestions and were not to be taken literally (Classicalmusiceducation.com). The music does however seem to match up beautifully with the titles.
The first movement is titled; Awakening of Cheerful Feelings on Arriving in the Country, 'Allegro ma non troppo' and begins with an opening drone. The piece has a very quick, but somehow leisurely pace that repeats itself in a typical sonata form. Themes emerge, but do not seem to be in conflict as in other symphonies, there is a lack of noticeable tension. Imagine a forest, with the sounds of nature in perfect harmony, the winds rustling through the trees and birds chirping and singing. The movement concludes with a coda comprised of a powerful increase in volume and emphasis with a return to the opening theme as basses join in.
The second movement is titled; Scene by the Brook, ‘Andante molto mosso’ and continues the calm and relaxed mood set in the first...
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