It’s hard to imagine that Ludwig van Beethoven’s delicate and good-natured Pastoral Symphony (No. 6) was composed at the same time (1807–08) as his rambunctious, blockbuster Fifth Symphony … not to mention they were both premiered at the same concert! Opening with the most recognizable four-note riff in the history of music, Beethoven’s Fifth steamrolls its way through a tumultuous path of fate, fire, and fury while his Pastoral Symphony gently communicates his fondness for walks through the countryside and his love of nature.
The final movement, “Shepherd’s Song: Happy and Grateful Feelings after the Storm,” is a remarkably joyful work, and through a large orchestration of mallet instruments, Brian Slawson creates a unique and crowd-pleasing way for percussion ensembles to communicate with sensitivity and richness.
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