Saturday, February 7, 2009

Classical Music for Everyone: Beethoven's Sixth Symphony

Beethoven -- Symphony No. 6 in F major -- 1808 -- London Symphony Orchestra (LSO), Jennifer Vyvyan, Rudolf Petrak, Donald Bell, Shirley Carter, Josef Krips & BBC Symphony Chorus - Beethoven: The Complete Symphony Collection

Beethoven looks like he's ready to shoot laser beams out of his eyes in this picture. He wants to set the world on fire with romance and passion. Not the kind of romance and passion between lovers. We're talking about Romance and Passion. We're talking about fraternity, liberty, and human freedom. Ideals with a capital I. Big ones. There's a lot of love in Beethoven's music. He loved the world, and believed mankind could perfect it.

Unfortunately for Beethoven, most people are complete idiots. He was often disappointed. He was appalled by the conduct of his friends, his enemies, the clergy, the aristocracy, and humanity in general. As the years passed Beethoven turned into a bit of a grouch: cranky, angry, cantankerous, ornery, vindictive, and mean. Then his lost his hearing and he got really mad.

You can see Beethoven's anger in the score above. Its almost as if he were trying to punish the paper for its inability to express whatever Beethoven heard perfectly in his head. Whatever paper he used to write his sixth symphony though, must have been pretty sweet, because Beethoven's Sixth is about as perfect as it gets.

Like a lot of angry perfectionists, Beethoven's mind found a happy place in nature. The sixth symphony is Beethoven walking through a wood on a fine spring morning. Maybe his laser beam eyes relaxed a little bit that morning and he simply enjoyed being alive for a while. Just a man strolling through a wood. That's how I hear this symphony.

Watch out for the thunderstorm in the fourth movement.

(The iTunes link at the top of the post will take you the London Symphony Orchestra's Complete Beethoven Symphonies. All nine Beethoven Symphonies for $9.99)


Lofchie Family said...

Hi Karine & Tom You are like in our family... I was crying about the baby congrats! So we have been lurking and reading all the Honduras blogs because we are moving in August to come and work at the American School in Tegus. Just wanted to thank you for all you great info and links...

Congratulations!!! Hope to meet you soon!

Soon in Tegucigalpa...

Honduras Sprout said...

Ahhh....the beloved and bemoaned Beethoven. At least when I had to practice his music growing up.
But once I learned a song by him...I was sucked into playing. (I played the piano). My mother said she hated playing his music because it was too depressing, but I on the other hand, loved it. Maybe it was the gen x grunge era that made me feel all deep and melancholy.

I love the image of the score.