Beethoven’s Stormy 6th Symphony

In Beethoven's day, there was a great fear of violent storms(Photo: Eric Vance, EPA Chief Photographer)
In Beethoven's day, there was a great fear of violent storms(Photo: Eric Vance, EPA Chief Photographer)

In the 21st century, violent weather seems to no longer be something to fear, but something to gawk at.  We have 24-hour weather channels, Doppler radar, Dual Doppler, and live Titan weather.  Storm chasers race after tornadoes, pilots fly into the eyes of hurricanes, and forecasters like nothing more than reporting from out in the elements.

In Beethoven’s day, such was not the case.  Goethe wrote about it in his novel, The Sorrows of Young Werther.  Only 20 years later, Beethoven painted a similar picture in his Pastoral Symphony as peasants were happily dancing and celebrating one minute and dashing for cover the next.

Greg Sandow is a music critic and writer who is also taking an ongoing look at the future of classical music.  He delves a little further into this subject.

Read Frightened by Storms (Arts Journal)

Read more about Beethoven’s 6th at NPR Music

Watch the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra play Beethoven’s storm

Women Composers…Not Just for Women’s History Month

There was an interview some years ago in which Morgan Freeman famously rocked Mike Wallace back on his heels in an interview.  When Wallace asked Morgan Freeman about Black History Month, Freeman called it “ridiculous.”  He said “I don’t want a Black History Month. Black history is American history.” He went on to ask Wallace when White History Month was.

The same case could be made for Women’s History Month.

Classical radio stations across the country feature women composers in March, but what about the rest of the year?

Rob Deemer from says it’s high time that changed. He has compiled a list of over 200 women composers and suggests you check them out.  Read A helpful list (

Amy Beth Kirsten, one of this year’s Guggenheim Fellows in music composition, has written an insightful article on this subject which is well worth your time.  Read The woman composer is dead (

In that same vein, ProMusica Chamber Orchestra recently released a recording of works by three contemporary women composers…Gabriela Lena Frank,  Lera Auerbach, and Joan Tower.  You can find out more here.