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Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin|Beethoven: Symphony No. 6 'Pastoral'

Beethoven: Symphony No. 6 'Pastoral'

Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin and Bernhard Forck

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The almost encyclopedic undertaking that French label harmonia mundi has embarked on to celebrate the double anniversary of the birth and death of Beethoven between 2020 and 2027 has already proven itself to be captivating with its emphasis on contemporary works from the start of the 19th century. It also presents us with a version of Beethoven in direct contact with the works of his own era, a step away from the usual romanticised image of the solitary genius in his ivory tower.

The juxtaposition of the renowned ‘Pastoral’ Symphony with the Portrait musical de la nature ou Grande Simphonie is troubling to say the least. The latter was written by relatively unknown composer Justin Heinrich Knecht 25 years prior to Beethoven’s masterpiece (it was recorded in a world premiere in 1997 by Frieder Bernius but flew under the radar). The two composers having had the same editor, everything points to the fact that Beethoven was probably familiar with the work, and the similarities between the two are not unrecognisable. The result of a long tradition of pastoral musical works, divided into five movements, with very similar programme indications, Rousseauesque naïvety with regard to the melodic contours and imitations of bird calls all go to show the proximity of the two works. This is a thrilling interpretation thanks to the convincing performance by the Berlin Akademie für Alte Musik that puts the two works on a par together. © François Hudry/Qobuz

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Beethoven: Symphony No. 6 'Pastoral'

Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin

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1
Le Portrait musical de la Nature ou Grande Simphonie in G Major: I. Allegretto - Andante pastorale - Allegretto - Villanella grazioso (un poco adagio) - Allegretto
00:08:55

Copyright Control, MusicPublisher - Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, Orchestra, MainArtist - Bernhard Forck, Conductor, MainArtist - Justin Heinrich Knecht, Composer

2020 harmonia mundi 2019 harmonia mundi

2
Le Portrait musical de la Nature ou Grande Simphonie in G Major: II. Allegretto. Tempo medemo
00:02:36

Copyright Control, MusicPublisher - Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, Orchestra, MainArtist - Bernhard Forck, Conductor, MainArtist - Justin Heinrich Knecht, Composer

2020 harmonia mundi 2019 harmonia mundi

3
Le Portrait musical de la Nature ou Grande Simphonie in G Major: III. Allegro molto
00:05:42

Copyright Control, MusicPublisher - Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, Orchestra, MainArtist - Bernhard Forck, Conductor, MainArtist - Justin Heinrich Knecht, Composer

2020 harmonia mundi 2019 harmonia mundi

4
Le Portrait musical de la Nature ou Grande Simphonie in G Major: IV. Allegretto. Tempo medemo
00:02:07

Copyright Control, MusicPublisher - Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, Orchestra, MainArtist - Bernhard Forck, Conductor, MainArtist - Justin Heinrich Knecht, Composer

2020 harmonia mundi 2019 harmonia mundi

5
Le Portrait musical de la Nature ou Grande Simphonie in G Major: V. L'inno con variazioni - Coro Allegro con brio - Andantino
00:04:53

Copyright Control, MusicPublisher - Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, Orchestra, MainArtist - Bernhard Forck, Conductor, MainArtist - Justin Heinrich Knecht, Composer

2020 harmonia mundi 2019 harmonia mundi

6
Symphonie No. 6 in F Major, Op. 68 'Pastorale': I. Erwachen heiterer Empfindungen bei der Ankunft auf dem Lande. Allegro, ma non troppo
00:10:58

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Copyright Control, MusicPublisher - Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, Orchestra, MainArtist - Bernhard Forck, Conductor, MainArtist

2020 harmonia mundi 2019 harmonia mundi

7
Symphonie No. 6 in F Major, Op. 68 'Pastorale': II. Szene am Bach. Andante molto moto
00:11:57

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Copyright Control, MusicPublisher - Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, Orchestra, MainArtist - Bernhard Forck, Conductor, MainArtist

2020 harmonia mundi 2019 harmonia mundi

8
Symphonie No. 6 in F Major, Op. 68 'Pastorale': III. Lustiges Zusammensein der Landleute. Allegro
00:05:12

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Copyright Control, MusicPublisher - Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, Orchestra, MainArtist - Bernhard Forck, Conductor, MainArtist

2020 harmonia mundi 2019 harmonia mundi

9
Symphonie No. 6 in F Major, Op. 68 'Pastorale': IV. Gewitter, Sturm. Allegro
00:04:01

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Copyright Control, MusicPublisher - Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, Orchestra, MainArtist - Bernhard Forck, Conductor, MainArtist

2020 harmonia mundi 2019 harmonia mundi

10
Symphonie No. 6 in F Major, Op. 68 'Pastorale': V. Hirtengesang. Frohe und dankbare Gefühle nach dem Sturm. Allegretto
00:09:48

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Copyright Control, MusicPublisher - Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, Orchestra, MainArtist - Bernhard Forck, Conductor, MainArtist

2020 harmonia mundi 2019 harmonia mundi

Album review

The almost encyclopedic undertaking that French label harmonia mundi has embarked on to celebrate the double anniversary of the birth and death of Beethoven between 2020 and 2027 has already proven itself to be captivating with its emphasis on contemporary works from the start of the 19th century. It also presents us with a version of Beethoven in direct contact with the works of his own era, a step away from the usual romanticised image of the solitary genius in his ivory tower.

The juxtaposition of the renowned ‘Pastoral’ Symphony with the Portrait musical de la nature ou Grande Simphonie is troubling to say the least. The latter was written by relatively unknown composer Justin Heinrich Knecht 25 years prior to Beethoven’s masterpiece (it was recorded in a world premiere in 1997 by Frieder Bernius but flew under the radar). The two composers having had the same editor, everything points to the fact that Beethoven was probably familiar with the work, and the similarities between the two are not unrecognisable. The result of a long tradition of pastoral musical works, divided into five movements, with very similar programme indications, Rousseauesque naïvety with regard to the melodic contours and imitations of bird calls all go to show the proximity of the two works. This is a thrilling interpretation thanks to the convincing performance by the Berlin Akademie für Alte Musik that puts the two works on a par together. © François Hudry/Qobuz

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