Week 20 – Beethoven’s Blog

Posted on August, 12th 2021

Beethoven’s Symphony No 6 in F Major Opus 68. What a dramatic difference between the opening of Beethoven’s fifth symphony and his sixth. The fifth so portentous and fiery and the sixth so serene and gentle. Many scholars say that he worked on the fifth from 1804 through 1808 and the sixth from 1807 through 1808. Someday, take a look at the list of Beethoven’s compositions (I’m including a link). You’ll see that he worked on many compositions simultaneously, even many of the great masterpieces. Imagine holding in your mind as he did the opening of the furious fifth alongside the caressingly calm sixth. A wonder! A look at the indications Beethoven includes in the score at the beginning of each of the five movements, suggests why this symphony is nicknamed the “Pastorale”.

  1. Awakening of cheerful feelings on arrival in the country: Allegro ma non troppo
  2. Scene by the Brook: Andante molto moto
  3. Merry gathering of the country folk: Allegro
  4. Thunderstorm: Allegro
  5. Shepherd’s song. Happy and grateful feelings after the storm: Allegretto

Reflect on Beethoven’s characterizations as you listen. They are perfect of course since he is the one who wrote both the music and the notes! However, musicologists have argued whether or not this is program music. What is that? Very simply put, it is music that tells a story or tries to evoke a picture or scenario in the listener’s mind. Beethoven said that this music evokes feelings, his feelings. I think it’s a little bit of both, or maybe a lot. You decide.

Many consider this their favorite symphony. Not just of Beethoven but of all composers. It’s full of grace, elegance, and beauty. Fodder for the dilettante or the connoisseur. Using the link below, you’ll be able to both listen to and follow the score to this wonderful Beethoven Symphony No 6!!

List of Beethoven’s Compositions