9. A walk in the countryside

We’re still at that infamous December 22nd, 1808 all-Beethoven concert in Vienna (remember last week?)

Fortunately for the Sixth Symphony it received its premiere as the first of the nine(!) works on the programme (the Fifth Symphony was played as number six); so it got a hearing before frostbite had a chance to set in with the audience!

The Sixth is, in its way, just as revolutionary as the Third (Eroica) or the Fifth, because, if such a thing can be ascribed one single work, this symphony marks the beginning of fully fledged Romanticism in music.

Why? Well, just look at the titles of the movements below; all of them descriptive, all of them indicative of a story; moving the symphony from the abstract to the concrete, narrative world of what was to become known as the Tondichtung [Tone poem].

(00:00) Opening
(00:18) I. Allegro ma non troppo: Erwachen heiterer Empfindungen bei der Ankunft auf dem Lande /
Awakening of cheerful feelings on arrival in the
(12:43) II. Andante molto mosso: Szene am Bach /
Scene by the brook
(24:42) III. Allegro: Lustiges Zusammensein der Landleute /
Merry gathering of the countryfolk
(30:15) IV. Allegro: Gewitter, Sturm /
(34:16) V. Allegretto: Hirtengesang. Frohe und dankbare Gefühle nach dem Sturm /
Shepherd’s song. Glad and grateful feelings after the storm


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