About this Recording
2.110298 - MUSICAL JOURNEY (A) - FRANCE: Burgundy / Pays de la Loire / Franche-Comte (NTSC)
English 

A Musical Tour of France
Burgundy • Pays de la Loire • Franche-Comté
With music by Ludwig van Beethoven

 

CHAPTER 1

Burgundy and Pays de la Loire: Landscapes

The region of Burgundy includes four departments of France, Yonne, Côte-d’Or, Saône-et-Loire and Ain, an extent rather less than the important historical Duchy of Burgundy. It holds rich agricultural land and vineyards, producing the wines of Côte de Nuits and of Côte de Beaune. The countryside of the Pays de la Loire, which includes Touraine, Anjou and Poitou, offers an equally rich variety of landscape.

Music Beethoven: Symphony No 6 in F major, Op 68, ‘Pastoral’
I. Allegro ma non troppo: Cheerful feelings aroused on arrival in the country

The sixth of Beethoven’s nine symphonies, the Pastoral, was first performed at a badly planned concert in Vienna in December 1808. The under-rehearsed programme was far too long, the theatre was cold and the final item, the Choral Fantasia, broke down and had to be started again.  Beethoven insisted that the new symphony was no crude imitation of nature, but rather reflected the feelings inspired by a visit to the countryside, emotion recollected in tranquillity. It does, however, include titles for the movements, from the first arrival in the country, depicted in the first movement.

CHAPTER 2

Burgundy: River Cousin
Franche Comté: Val de la Loue
Pays de la Loire: River Erdre and River Loire
Franche Comté: Lac de Saint-Point

The River Cousin flows to the south of the ancient town of Avallon in Burgundy, passing through tranquil countryside. In pleasing contrast is the valley of the River Loue, to the south of Besançon in Franche Comté. The Erdre is in Loire Atlantique with the Loire itself running through the region. The Lake of Saint-Point, the largest in the Jura, lies near the Swiss border.

Music Beethoven: Symphony No 6 in F major, Op 68, ‘Pastoral’
II. Andante molto mosso: Scene by the brook

The second movement of the symphony echoes the gentle murmur of the brook, punctuated by the singing of birds, nightingale, quail and cuckoo in unusual ornithological juxtaposition.

CHAPTER 3

Pays de la Loire: Château de Cheverny
Burgundy: Château d’Arlay
Pays de la Loire: Thunderstorm
Burgundy: Vougeot • Château de Bussy-Rabutain • Fontevraud, Saumur
Franche-Comté: Ornans

The 17th century Château de Cheverny has a hunting museum and souvenirs of the chase, while the adjoining kennels still house hounds for hunting. To the east of the country, the Château d’Arlay provides a site for falconry. The vineyards of Vougeot have a long history and the Château de Bussy-Rabutain was rebuilt in the middle of the 17th century by Count Roger of Bussy-Rabutain, a cousin of Madame de Sévigné, sent away from the court after his scandalous Histoire amoureuse des Gaules, a literary preoccupation reflected in his collection of pictures. Fontevraud is famous for its ancient abbey and Ornans as the birth-place of the painter Gustave Courbet.

Music Beethoven: Symphony No 6 in F major, Op 68, ‘Pastoral’
III. Allegro: Peasants’ Merrymaking
IV. Allegro: Storm
V. Allegretto: Shepherds’ Song. Thanksgiving after the storm

There is a peasant gathering and the ominous signs of a coming thunderstorm. The thunder dies away, and the piccolo draws us into the shepherd’s song of gratitude for its passing. The main theme of the movement appears in various guises, before a snatch of it is played by the French horn to end the symphony.

CHAPTER 4

Pays de la Loire: Château de Villandry

The Château de Villandry, carefully restored by the Carvallo family in the 20th century, was started in 1532, with a 14th century keep still preserved. It is well known for its remarkable gardens, laid out as in the 16th century, and divided into geometric patterns by low box-hedges. The gardens include a potager and water gardens. In the château itself is a fine collection of paintings from the Spanish and Venetian schools, featuring major painters, including works attributed to Velasquez and Zurbaran, and paintings by Goya, Titian and Tintoretto.

Music Beethoven: Romance No 1 in G major, Op 40

The Romance in G major, for solo violin and orchestra, dates from 1801–1802 and may have been intended as a possible slow movement for an earlier violin concerto that remained unfinished. It was published in 1803.

Keith Anderson

Recordings
‘Pastoral Symphony’: Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra cond. Michael Halász [Naxos 8.550135]
Romance in G: Takako Nishizaki, violin, Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra cond. Kenneth Jean [With Violin Concerto, Naxos 8.550149]


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