Posted by: jkirkby8712 | July 18, 2011

Sunday, 17th July 2011 – Beethoven’s 6th!!

I must say that I really did not want to get out of bed at 5.30 am this morning, and travel up to the radio station, and I suppose if I was like some of our other presenters, I would have simply stayed put – but, that’s not the way it works with me, and while for the first hour on air, I felt [though hopefully didn’t sound it] very weary, and not as healthy as I would have preferred. But as usual, pleased I was on duty, particularly when the couple who normally follow me on a Sunday, rang in with apologies – not up to doing their program today! That one, we can be sure, was a genuine absenteeism! They are not a young couple, and I often wonder of a Sunday, just how one or other of them, has even managed to get away from their home, let alone cope with the 30 minute drive from Melbourne’s western suburbs.

Incidentally, my feature piece of music this morning was Beethoven’s 6th Symphony [the ‘Pastoral Symphony’ as I think he titled it himself.  I have been gradually moving through the nine symphonies that Beethoven wrote, over the past few months, usually leaving a gap of 6-8 weeks between each one. This one was composed  with Beethoven’s more famous—and more fiery, and probably best known—Fifth Symphony.  Usually, a performance of the 6th takes about 40 minutes [which was pretty accurate, with the CD version I had this morning], but apparently the last three movements are played without a pause. I’d not realised that at the time, although the pauses which I ‘allow’ between movements when playing on air, are almost always of much shorter duration, than you hear in a live concert performance. It often amazes me at just how long those breaks are with some orchestras, shouldn’t be necessary or required in my view. I any case, Symphony No. 6 is longer than most of them, and is in fact made up of five separate movements, and was completed by the composer in 1808.  It has a great deal of reference to nature and associated themes, and Beethoven actually attached, unusually, sub-titles to each of the five movements..  He was a lover of nature who spent a great deal of his time on walks in the country, and apparently  frequently left Vienna to work in rural locales. He is quoted as saying that the Sixth Symphony is “more the expression of feeling than painting” and the same point is made in the title he attached to the first movement. With that, and the other titles which I’ve listed below, were, again in the words of the composer himself   “It is left to the listener to find out the situations … Anyone that has formed any idea of rural life does not need titles to imagine the composer’s intentions.”

The five subtitles which Beethoven attribution to his composition were:

  • Movement1: Awakening of cheerful feelings upon arrival in the country [allegro ma non troppo];
  • Movement 2: Scene at the brook [andante molto mosso];
  • Movement 3: Happy gathering of country folk [allegro];
  • Movement 4: Thunderstorm, Storm [allegro]; and
  • Movement 5: Shepherd’s song; cheerful and thankful feelings after the storm [allegretto]

Portrait of Beethoven in 1804, by which point he had been working on the 6th Symphony for two years.


Meanwhile, the weather deteriorated considerably, so that by mid afternoon, the temperature outside felt as though it had dropped since this morning.  Once I returned from the radio mid-morning, home was where I remained – an afternoon spent working on music programs for next week, and through the evening back onto the family history projects!!

Something had made me think that Susie had a brief semester break from the university, and so would be down here for a few days.  Not the case however, and she left for Bendigo at 9.45 pm –  I was not happy again, at her leaving so late, but she is simply not interested in what I think – just me fussing again!! So there is little I can say.  Just hope and  pray that all goes okay, nothing I can do to change the next couple of hours. Sent a message to Jodie, to let her know that Susie had just left  – Jodie’s response  –   “Probably better than if she drove in the morning, doubt she’s awake before 11 often enough to concentrate better than at night. She’ll be fine. J x” Of course, it was not really Susie’s driving I was worrying about, but more the aspect of the possibility [faint as it was] of some kind of breakdown out on the highway late on a Sunday night, a mobile phone out of action, etc, etc. The kind of potentials I have in mind when I drive myself, but which the mere mention of to my daughter, gets her ire up!!!  Oh well, at least she messaged me as soon as she arrived in Bendigo tonight.

A usual, a selection of late night international sporting events on tonight, our time –  would have liked to have been in the position to forego sleep, and do some late night viewing. But then, whether I watch or not, it won’t change the outcomes, will it!!


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