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Music

Beethoven, nature lover

Have you ever wished that you could hear one of your favorite pieces for the very first time all over again? The way Anima eterna performs Beethoven's Sixth Symphony, you might just feel you are.

This hour we wrap up our six-program survey of the period instrument orchestra from Bruges, Belgium. Beethovenfest director Nike Wagner described its sound as "an adventure with a freshness that I like very much. Of course it's meant to be heard in smaller halls, for a small audience in an intimate setting."

For Anima eterna's three evenings in Bonn, the Beethoven Hall was thus rendered smaller by an expanded stage adorned with a veritable forest of potted plants.

As we've heard in these programs, conductor, pianist and musical innovator Jos van Immerseel enjoys mixing and matching repertory.

"I don't think that Beethoven needs to be admired endlessly," says Immerseel on the subject of the composer who lent his name to the Beethovenfest. "Sometimes we want only the very best. But in Bonn, we combined Beethoven with other composers - not to make him less important but because it's historically accurate. In Beethoven's time, programs were filled with contrasts. You'd have a choir sing, or a soprano who happened to be in town would make an appearance. They'd play part of one symphony and part of another one. Back then, they didn't program concerts like we program CDs today."

Jos van Immerseel. Photo: Alex Vanhee

Jos van Immerseel has a knack for making old music sound new

Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony celebrates his love of the countryside. Lest there be any doubt, he gave its five movements descriptive titles:

  • Cheerful feelings awaken upon arrival in the countryside
  • Scene at the brook
  • Merry gathering of the countryfolk
  • Storm
  • Shepherd songs - happy and grateful feelings after the storm

Franz Schubert:
Symphony No. 5 in B-flat Major, D. 485, 2nd movement (excerpt)
Anima Eterna Bruges
Jos van Immerseel, conductor
on Sony Classical SM 4K 87986

Ludwig van Beethoven:
Symphony No. 6 in F Major, op. 68 (Pastoral)
Anima Eterna Bruges
Jos van Immerseel, conductor
Recorded by Deutsche Welle, Bonn (DW) in the Beethoven Hall, Bonn, on October 3, 2015

Rebroadcasting rights: one broadcast before January 24, 2017

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