Hear an Interview with Conductor Christoph Eschenbach
Composed in 1808
Premiered December 1808
Published 1809 in Leipzig
Many of Beethoven's works are titled, yet many of these names came from friends or from those to whom the pieces were dedicated. The Sixth Symphony, however, is one of only two symphonies Beethoven intentionally named. Beethoven's full title was "Pastoral Symphony, or Recollections of Country Life." Although it was composed in the same time period and dedicated to the same people as the Fifth, the works have many differences. The "Pastoral" is known as a "characteristic" symphony and closely resembles "Le musical de la nature" by Rheinish composer Justin Heinrich Knecht. Beethoven publicly declared the piece's "extramusical" purpose: an expression of nature. His affinity for nature and his love for walks through the country outside Vienna were captured in the Sixth, as well as in the notes scribbled on sketches of the symphony.