Beethoven – Symphony No. 6 “Pastoral” in F Major, Op.68

by Max Derrickson

Ludwig van Beethoven   (b Bonn, Germany, December 16, 1770; d Vienna, Austria, March 26, 1827)

Symphony No. 6 “Pastoral” in F Major, Op.68
I. Awakening of Cheerful Feelings upon Arrival in the Country – (Allegro ma non troppo)
II. Scene by the Brook – (Andante molto mosso)
III. Merry Gathering of Country Folk – (Allegro)
IV. Thunderstorm – (Allegro)
V. Shepherd’s Song. Happy and Thankful Feelings after the Storm – (Allegretto)

The Sixth Symphony, the “Pastoral,” is filled with charm and gratefulness, the light of the sun through summer leaves, and the grace and quietude of nature observed. When one regards Beethoven, with all his scowling portraits and the allusions to monumental struggle in his Fifth Symphony, hearing his Sixth comes as a complete surprise.

As with his Fifth, the Sixth’s essence had been germinating in Beethoven’s head for many years. His busy city life in Vienna was increasingly counter-balanced by long sojourns to its parks and out into the countryside . . .