Nestled between pine trees and an Alpine garden, mountains painted in the backdrop, Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater provided a perfect setting for the nature-themed sketches of Beethoven’s “Pastoral” Symphony No. 6 Friday night in Vail.
Beethoven’s compositional inspirations flourished whenever he left the overstimulation of his adopted hometown, Vienna, for the countryside. When he penned in 1810, “For surely woods, trees and rocks produce the echo which man desires to hear,” one could easily imagine he was envisioning such a venue for the performance of this particular five-movement work.
Beethoven peppered the score with phrases like, “the hearer should be allowed to discover the situations.” On Friday, longtime Philadelphia Orchestra guest conductor Stéphane Denève recognized the possibility of real-life sound effects enhancing the composer’s own inscriptions.
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