Can we perform Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony Non-Ironically in 2019?
As I gear up for my debut with the Kaluga Symphony Orchestra in Russia, I've been pondering the ethics of our so-called 'pastoral' programme. The programme includes Mendelssohn's Overture from A Midsummer Night's Dream, Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto, and finally and most importantly, Beethoven's 6th Symphony, written as an ode to nature.
But in a world stricken with a swiftly shifting climate, pollution, and new worries about overpopulation, what does it signify that we are performing an ode to nature?
The conclusion I've come to is that performing Beethoven 6 is possible today only is more like presenting a dirge rather than an ode. Let us strive to return to state when we can celebrate what is rather than clinging only to what was.