Beethoven Week: The Pastoral

Thumbnail Relax and Revitalise

Saturday 20th September 2014 at 7.00pm

Symphony Hall, Birmingham +44 (0)121 345 0600

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Andris Nelsons  conductor

Beethoven: Symphony No. 6 (Pastoral) 40′
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Beethoven: Symphony No. 7 36′
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From spring-fresh opening to serene finish, there’s no experience in music more life-affirming than Beethoven’s lovely Pastoral Symphony. And there’s none more gloriously, exuberantly, physical than his unstoppable Seventh – the piece that made even Richard Wagner get up and dance! Andris Nelsons’ journey through Beethoven’s symphonies reaches two of the most enduringly popular masterpieces in all music.

Beethoven Week: The Ghost 5.45pm – FREE pre-concert performance by Trio Severn. Beethoven: Piano Trio in D Op. 70 No. 1 (The Ghost)

Supported by The Mailbox

If you like this concert, you might also like:
Panufnik Centenary, Wednesday 24th September
War and Peace, Thursday 6th November
Brahms and Beethoven, Wednesday 25th March 2015 & Saturday 28th March 2015


Support the CBSO


Review by Katherine Dixson, BachTrack:

Click here for full review

…     “Against the backdrop of strings, lovely woodwind birdsong punctuated the fresh clean air. There followed a stark change in meteorological conditions with the drama of a thunderstorm, prefaced by ominous bass rumblings and pattering raindrops in the violins. The general rumpus of the full-blown storm featured the excitement of excellent brass and – a stroke of Beethoven’s genius – upward figures on lower strings at variable speeds, producing a blurred, somewhat disorientating effect. Nelsons, clearly in control of this apparent mayhem, virtually threw the thunder, javelin-fashion, at charismatic timpanist Matthew Perry.

The colours of sunshine returned to draw the symphony to a close, via repetitions of familiar themes and emotional dynamics. The “happy, thankful feelings” of this movement’s title summed it up perfectly. There’s something life-affirming about the Pastoral, and I would gladly have listened to it all again.

Symphony No. 7 was written when Beethoven had been suffering from ill health and depression. Recommended to spend the summer of 1811 in the spa town of Teplitz, a peaceful spot in troubled times, he certainly demonstrated no loss of creativity, his stay proving the catalyst for not only the 7th Symphony but also the 8th and 9th. Luckily the intensity of this and recent weeks’ music-making apparently hadn’t adversely affected the CBSO’s energy levels, as the 7th Symphony is laden with muscular dance rhythms, manic fury and grand themes requiring dynamism in every sense.  Nelsons’ conducting style tended towards the minimalist at times, often hinging on facial expressions and his relative proximity to the players, yet he drew out every nuance of emotionally-charged strings, navigating their way through the madcap momentum of the long-short-short rhythmic pattern. The central Presto section stole the show, if the swaying of my neighbours was any indication, but just when you thought it couldn’t get any more dramatic the full orchestra went full-tilt at the finale’s dual, unprecedented fff climaxes.”     …


3 thoughts on “Beethoven Week: The Pastoral

  1. Derek Hunt says:

    I am not au fait with Twitter but I have seen your tweets and have to say that I agree totally that Andris and the CBSO go from strength to strengh both in performance and their amazing understanding! The Beethoven 7th was as good as it gets. As you said well done and thank you!
    Best regards and thank you for your site and service.

    • azuriteenigma says:

      Hi Derek,
      Thank you for your comment. Did you go to all four concerts? I can’t imagine a better seventh! Indeed the whole week was stunningly good. The ninth was amazing the last time they did it, but just when you think they can’t get better somehow they manage to kick it up yet another notch, just astounding. Perfect chemistry between CBSO and Andris for sure! Feel so very lucky to experience their wonderful music making.

      • Derek Hunt says:

        Yes, I went to all four concerts, A tremendous week! I agree that in the ninth Andris with the CBSO, soloists and chorus excelled themselves.

        I suspect that we are in for a very special season and will see even more brilliance from the CBSO.
        We have been fortunate with music directors, but there is not another Andris Nelsons so I hope the right choice is made as his successor, to continue the exciting journey for this wonderful orchestra!

        Best regards

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