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The first sketches of the Pastoral Symphony appeared in It was composed simultaneously with Beethoven's more famous—and more fiery—Fifth Symphony. Both symphonies were premiered in a long and under-rehearsed concert in the Theater an der Wien in Vienna on 22 December It begins with the strings playing a motif that clearly imitates flowing water. The cello section is divided, with just two players playing the flowing-water notes on muted instruments, and the remaining cellos playing mostly pizzicato notes together with the double basses.

Toward the end is a cadenza for woodwind instruments that imitates bird calls.

Symphony No.6, Op.68 (Beethoven, Ludwig van)

Beethoven helpfully identified the bird species in the score: nightingale flute , quail oboe , and cuckoo two clarinets. We use cookies on this site to enhance your user experience By clicking any link on this page you are giving your consent for us to set cookies. OK, I agree No, give me more info. MuseScore Search.

Beethoven - Symphony No. 6 in F Major, op. 68 (“Pastorale”) - Utah Symphony

As the third movement of the Fifth builds, you think the composer must have reached the pinnacle of the orchestras capability-nothing could be bigger. But then, you catch your breath.

Bruno Walter, Beethoven - Symphony No.6 in F major, Op.68 'Pastorale'

The orchestra plays straight into the final movement, and the ensemble seems to be growing. The main theme rises higher and higher, higher than any orchestra has ever played. What instrument is adding that color to this phrase?

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Surely it is not a flute: the instrument cannot play that high or with such sweet clarity. What has Beethoven done? For the first time in any symphony, Beethoven has added the piccolo to the orchestra.

Todays audiences, however, both expect and take for granted this marvelous addition, and many historians look at the Fifth Symphony and think, "this was the first use of orchestral piccoloclearly Beethoven is the father of the use of the instrument symphonically. Beethoven may have been the first, but should he be given credit for permanently establishing the instrument in the symphony orchestra? To understand Beethovens role in the piccolos development, his use of the instrument must be analyzed in light of the piccolos three primary roles known to modem audiences: extender of range and dynamics, programmatic effect, and solo instrument.

Years later, Beethoven took his friend and often unreliable biographer Anton Schindler for a walk in the country outside Vienna. The yellow bunting is not labeled, but Beethoven indicated to Schindler its more important fluttering figure, appearing first in the flute.


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The brook itself rolls along gently in the middle strings, and there are numerous other points of explicit scene painting. Beethoven saves the timpani, trombones, and piccolo for this moment, as well as the minor side of the home key and unstable harmonies such as diminished chords.


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