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Herbert Blomstedt: Berlioz and Beethoven | Philharmonia Orchestra

Thursday April 11, 2019 at 19:30
Royal Festival Hall, London
£58, £45; £36; £28; £19; £12
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  1. Symphony No 6 in F, 'Pastoral' Op 68 - Ludwig van Beethoven
  2. Symphonie fantastique - Hector Berlioz

In the first of two concerts, Herbert Blomstedt brings his irrepressible enthusiasm, undimmed by over 60 years on the podium, to two masterpieces.

Blomstedt last conducted the Philharmonia in 2017, delighting audiences and critics alike with a high-octane performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No 7: “a full-on exuberant expression of the human spirit… The Philharmonia simply sparkled” (Bachtrack). He returns with the Pastoral Symphony.

A lover of nature, Beethoven often found musical inspiration from his walks in the country. From its opening movement, titled ‘Awakening of cheerful feelings upon arrival in the countryside’, in the Pastoral Symphony he paints musical scenes of bubbling rivers and village life, carried by evocative strings melodies and colourful woodwind bird calls.

Berlioz was a great admirer of Beethoven, but he didn’t so much break the mould as throw it away and start again. The five movements of his Symphonie fantastique tell a lurid tale of a very thinly-disguised ‘young artist’ delirious with the pain of unrequited love. The object of his infatuation is represented by a theme that he hears everywhere – in the streets, at a glamorous ball, out in the fields. Terrified that she will betray him, he tries to kill himself with opium, but instead finds himself in a hideous dream world where he witnesses his own execution

Royal Festival Hall
Belvedere Road
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