Venue Details: Lighthouse
- Berlioz : Harold in Italy
- Beethoven : Symphony No.6 "Pastoral"
- Conductor : Kirill Karabits
- Soloist: Ralf Ehlers (Viola)
The music of Harold in Italy - a series of Italian souvenirs in a symphonic frame, with a title alluding to Byron - is full of youthful vitality, tinged with that appealing romantic sensibility that Berlioz borrowed so poetically from literature. Although using a solo viola (written to a commission by Paganini) it remains a symphony as the traditional balance between soloist and orchestra is shifted; the soloist is rarely the protagonist, more often a bystander. All four movements picture outdoor scenes drawn from the most vivid experiences of his Italian stay.
The main musical manifestation of Beethoven’s love of nature is his Sixth Symphony. It is his most direct symphonic example of program music - he himself applied the subtitle Pastoral, as well as descriptive headings for each movement. The opening Awakening of Cheerful Feeling upon Arriving in the Country proceeds at a leisurely pace and the following Scene by the Brook unfolds with aptly flowing grace; at the end woodwinds imitate birds: a nightingale, quail and cuckoo. For his Merry Assembly of Country Folk, he summons a band of rustics for a cheerful group of dances. A vivid thunderstorm intrudes violently, but soon the opening mood of serenity is restored by the final, uplifting Shepherds’ Song of Thanksgiving.
"There is a natural clarity about the conducting style of Karabits that is most persuasive. His technique is unequivocal: tightly disciplined and geared towards rhythmic precision."