BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58
i. Allegro moderato
ii. Andante con moto
iii. Rondo (Vivace)
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 6 “Pastoral” in F major, Op. 68
i. Allegro ma non troppo (Awakening of cheerful feelings on arrival in the countryside)
ii. Andante molto mosso (Scene by the brook)
iii. Allegro (Merry gathering of country folk)
iv. Allegro (Thunderstorm)
v. Allegretto (Shepherd’s song. Cheerful and thankful feelings after the storm)
Ludwig van Beethoven
1770 | December 17 – 1827 | March 26
Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58
Duration approximately 35 minutes
Piano Concerto No. 4 was composed in 1805. Beethoven dedicated it to his friend, student, and patron, the Archduke Rudolph. It premiered on 22 December 1808 at Vienna Theater an der Wien. Here Beethoven made his last performance as a soloist. However, its premiere did not gain much success. A few decades later, Felix Mendelssohn revived this piano concerto. A music critic once said, “This piano concerto is the most admirable, singular, artistic and complex Beethoven concerto ever.”
Rather than using a grand orchestral opening, Beethoven began his piano concerto with a piano solo, playing some calm and gentle chords. It builds up into a thick and broad harmony along with the orchestra, yet still holding some sense of tenderness. Throughout the first movement, the main melody consists of 3 persistent chords, resembling the famous Symphony No. 5 (“Fate” Symphony), which was composed and premiered at the same time. The second movement is darker and more dramatic than the first. Being very poetic and lyrical, it depicts Orpheus taming the wild beasts (Furies) at the gates of Hades. Throughout the movement, we can listen to the beautiful conversation between the orchestra and the piano. The orchestra played the dark and hostile octaves, representing the beasts, while the piano played a lyrical and flowing melody, reflecting Orpheus. The last movement, Rondo, is uplifting and witty at the same time. The main melody is very rhythmical. It ends with a blast of the powerful theme.
Symphony No. 6 “Pastoral” in F major, Op. 68
Duration approximately 40 minutes
As a nature lover, Beethoven enjoyed his time walking in suburban parks and countryside. During summer, he loves to go out of the city and spend his time in the rural areas around Vienna.
This symphony depicts much of his love towards nature. Below the title, Beethoven wrote this symphony is "more the expression of feeling than painting". Symphony No. 6 is unique because the composer included a narrative title on each movement which is clearly reflected in the music.
The first movement was entitled “Awakening of cheerful feelings on arrival in the countryside”. It is serene and joyful, depicting Beethoven’s emotion as he arrived in the beautiful suburb. The long lines of melody create a very relaxing moment for the listener. The second movement, “Scene by the brook” begins with the string played to and fro pattern, reflecting the movements of flowing water. The music is very delicate and magical. At the ending of second movement, we can listen to the bird calls; “Nightingale” by the first flute, “Quail” by the first oboe, and “Cuckoo” by the first and second clarinets, as it was written by the composer (who specifically identified the bird species in the score). The third movement “Merry gathering of country folk” is in ¾ time, a folk - dancing music. It is cheerful and pleasant, reflecting the peasant dance and gathering. The movement ends suddenly and immediately proceeds to the next movement, “Thunderstorm”. It begins with the violin playing soft staccato passages representing a few raindrops, with the lower string section playing the turbulent passage, representing the thunder. The violent thunderstorm immediately took place. Then, the thunderstorm gradually subsides, with the oboe playing a heartfelt melody, followed by the ascending scale by the flute, as if the dark clouds were gradually replaced with the emerging sunlight. The music smoothly transitioned into the last movement, “Shepherd’s song. Cheerful and thankful feelings after the storm”. It begins with yodeling, played by solo clarinet, then solo horn. The main melody, in a beautiful F major, is a folk-like tune, which took place throughout the whole movement. In the original manuscript, Beethoven wrote, “We give Thee thanks for Thy great glory.” This symphony certainly can take the audience out from the reality into a wonderful musical getaway.