The term “program music” is sometimes uttered rather contemptuously by the musical “glitterati," so could it possibly apply to works of their idol, Beethoven? Well, sometimes “yes," as our instructor will demonstrate through a look at Beethoven’s softer side as a lover of nature, revealed to us in his Sixth Symphony. The composer, with impeccable musical structure, stuns his fans with this work, which is also known as the Pastoral Symphony! The polemic is not about his beautiful melodies and perfect chordal structure but because he gave us a narrative to follow along with the symphony. Beethoven opens our imagination to the countryside where you can hear a nightingale, a cuckoo, a summer thunderstorm, peasants making merry, the meandering of a stream ….
Can we actually accept this tone-painting as true program music and acknowledge that he wants us to see, in our mind’s eye, the scenes that he so sensitively evokes? As we listen to excerpts from this remarkably accessible yet complex work, we will join the 200-year-old debate on whether or not the Pastoral Symphony is a pure-form musical work or just another example of chaotic program music.
About the instructor: As an American harpist, Lauren Woidela has traveled to three continents performing solo, chamber and orchestral concerts. As an instructor, she has given lectures for the musicology department of Université de Paris-Sorbonne, focusing on 19th & 20th century music. She hosted and produced her own radio program for the former KXTR: Kansas City’s Classical Music Radio Station, captivating her audiences by bringing a fresh new view on classical music.
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