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30 Aug 2019
The Beethoven Festival, conducted by NZSO Music Director Edo de Waart, continues with two of Beethoven’s late great symphonies.
Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony, also known as the Pastoral, was composed in 1808. Beethoven was a nature lover and often went for long country walks. He described this symphony as “more the expression of feeling than painting”.
This symphony has five movements with each subtitled by the composer: Awakening of cheerful feelings on arrival in the countryside; Scene by the brook; Merry gathering of country folk; Thunder storm; Shepherd’s song and Cheerful and thankful feelings after the storm. The symphony was used in Walt Disney’s famous 1940 animated film Fantasia.
Beethoven wrote his Seventh Symphony while he was spending time at the Bohemian spa town of Teplice. The work is filled with lively dance-like rhythms. A drone-like line in the double basses recurs in the third movement hinting at a rustic, outdoor celebration.
Though some critics didn’t like the work, Beethoven described it as his “most excellent symphony”. When the Seventh Symphony premiered in 1813, the second movement Allegretto was so popular the audience demanded an encore.
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