Beethoven's unique placing at the threshold of the Classical and Romantic eras in music allowed such a work as the 'Pastoral' Symphony to achieve greatness, through its evocation of the natural world which served to praise the Creator himself. 'More an expression of feeling than painting', said Beethoven, and it is true that, while the atmosphere of the countryside pervades every bar scenes of running brooks, storms and village life this Symphony can be fully enjoyed without resort to mental pictures of shepherds, peasants and cuckoos.
Also on the disc is Beethoven's Overture to Goethe's Egmont, the play for which Beethoven wrote incidental music in 1789. Set in 16th-century Flanders at the time of the revolution against Spanish oppression, the play was revived again in 1810, a significant time when Vienna was under occupation by Napoleon's troops.
Leading the London Philharmonic Orchestra on these two archive recordings is former Principal Conductor and Music Director Klaus Tennstedt, whose tenure with the LPO was characterised by his specialism in German repertoire, and the energy and emotional involvement which endeared him with musicians and audiences alike.
Tennstedt held Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony very close to his heart, even selecting his studio recording of the work with the LPO for his appearance on Desert Island Discs in 1991. He added that 'this orchestra is so flexible and it is a romantic orchestra and I feel I am a romantic conductor so we are good together I think no orchestra in the world can now better play than the London Philharmonic.'
These recordings were taken from live concert performances at Southbank Centre's Royal Festival Hall in September 1991 (Egmont Overture, recorded by BBC Radio 3) and February 1992 (Symphony No. 6).
1. Egmont, Op. 84: Overture
2. Symphony No. 6 in F Major, Op. 68 "Pastoral": I. Awakening of Cheerful Feelings Upon Arrival in the Country: Allegro ma non troppo
3. Symphony No. 6 in F Major, Op. 68 "Pastoral": II. Scene by the Brook: Andante molto mosso
4. Symphony No. 6 in F Major, Op. 68 "Pastoral": III. Merry Gathering of Country Folk: Allegro
5. Symphony No. 6 in F Major, Op. 68 "Pastoral": IV. Thunderstorm: Allegro
6. Symphony No. 6 in F Major, Op. 68 "Pastoral": V. Shepherd's Song: Happy and Thankful Feelings after the Storm: Allegretto