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It was only shortly after the 5th Symphony that Beethoven completed the Pastoral Symphony. The two formed a complementary work pair, consigned together to a patron in June 1808, publicly premiered in Vienna in December 1808, and published by Breitkopf & Härtel in the spring of 1809. During this period, Beethoven revised the symphony several times. Only in the course of preparing for publication did Beethoven send Breitkopf & Härtel a letter, together with a list of corrections, disclosing the title that he desired, “Pastoral Symphony or recollections of country life. More an expression of feeling than painting.” The Pastoral with its tone-painting elements gives evidence of Beethoven’s closeness to nature, characterizing in five movements his various experiences and images of nature. Based on the music text of the Beethoven Complete Edition, the new performance material of this recently published edition presents the current, authoritative status of Beethoven research for this work.

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