The Abomination of Desolation
Sunday Night Journal — August 17, 2008

Music of the Week: Beethoven - Symphony #6

What a lovely, graceful, gracious, serene, generous, and noble work. Not profound in itself, perhaps, as compared to some of the other symphonies, it seems to imply a consciousness of profundity, a sense that, yes, there are great questions and probably troubles to be dealt with, but at the moment life is showing us its benevolent face and we are content with that. Although there is plenty of movement in it there is an underlying peace—not at all a naïve peace, a peace that has not known or has forgotten war, but an almost transcendent peace, a peace proper to the aftermath of the Third and Fifth. The brief thunderstorm opens no abyss, but serves only as a contrast to the prevailing fresh sunlight and temperate breezes. This is life as we would like it to be, and as Beethoven too rarely experienced it: joyful activity and joyful contemplation, with the occasional storm, invigorating but not dangerous, serving only as a contrast and to keep the meadows green and the brook flowing.

I was never really grabbed by this one in the past, but I’ll put it among my favorites now. At this point the favorites—3, 4, 5, and 6—outnumber the non-favorites, which rather distorts the meaning of the term.



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