Climate emergency? This symphony’s for you

Climate emergency? This symphony’s for you


norman lebrecht

January 17, 2020

From the Lebrecht Album of the Week:

With Australia in flames, Italian cities choked by smog and parts of Canada enjoying an unseasonal thaw, I’m listening to Ralph Vaughan Williams’s Pastoral Symphony, a lament for pre-1914 rhythms of life. …

Read on here.

And here.


  • Bone says:

    Gov’t will solve the problem! Everyone give their gov’t prescribed Fair Share and we will be taken care of! Just trust the current elected officials!

  • Alexander Platt says:

    Thank you Norman

  • Mustafa Kandan says:

    1914 was a catastrophe, that destroyed a whole civilisation. A civilisation much more refined than our own, even if they were imperialist & racist , in time these issues would have been resolved as well. The first world war was the bad war as opposed to second world war which was a most moving moral tale. I hate the destruction of the second world war, but there is not a more fascinating tale in entire history & Churchill agreed with this sentiment. The good prevailed in the end, even if rather short lived, as the cold war started soon after.

  • Richard Daley says:

    Many actually believe it is more an evocation of the desolate French landscape if the Great War and a lament for his fallen countrymen, making it even more apropos for your post

  • willymh says:

    I’m not sure what parts of Canada are having an “unseasonable” thaw but at the moment here in the Maritimes we’ve had constant snow for the past week. Yesterday Newfoundland got the worst blizzard in recent history and a state of emergency has been declared. Here on Prince Edward Island we’ve had 90km/h winds, wind chill of -31c, road closures because of drifting snow, and the mainland was cut off from the Island at one point. This is not the “normal” winter from our experience here.

    Though winter weather is not unexpected – it is after all Canada – the severity this year and this departure from the norm for our area is indicative of a major pattern change.

    • V. Lind says:

      I think he might have been referring to the melting of the Arctic which s neither unseasonal or anything to make light of — it has been going on for years and has been disastrous to habitats and wildlife, with subsequent consequences to human populations.

      We finally have our Northwest Passage, but at a hell of a cost.

      Or perhaps Canada is going to net more casual mentions now, as we prepare to add two new refugees to our intake. Presumably in transit to a third country — sooner the better.

    • geoff says:

      Here in Ottawa it is Snowing and overnight it is -22 C. But The Depth of Winter is January 19th, so called as the worst average winter day on record. I missed a recital this evening because of this, Charles Richard-Hamelin and Andrew Wan playing Beethoven. Sad.

      • willymh says:

        But at least there’s skating on the Canal???? I always enjoyed a hot chocolate while watching the skaters from the comfort of our living room on the Driveway. LOL It was as close as I came to winter sports. 🙂 Sorry about the concert. Was it part of the Chamber Music series?

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    Australia isn’t ‘in flames’. Parts of the eastern seaboard and some of Adelaide burnt but there is a vast CONTINENT beyond that. At this time we are having heavy rain from Queensland to the bottom of NSW.

    And I guess you didn’t know that thousands of holidaymakers were warned NOT TO GO to the coast hamlets in NSW which were in ‘catastrophic’ warnings and they ignored this. When the day came these same people had to be rescued by the taxpayer and the navy and the locals who’d lost everything had to compete with them for scarce food and water. Ironically, most of those lemmings had driven from Canberra – our national capital!!

    Yesterday holidaymakers were warned by authorities NOT TO GO to areas now affected by local flooding. Yeah, right.

  • fflambeau says:

    I listened to this symphony and was disappointed. To me, there was little pastoral about it. Much better is anything by Alan Hovhaness, Jean Sibelius (especially his magnificent 5th with its bird theme), and Symponys 1 & 2 by the neglected Russian composer, Vasily Sergeyevich Kalinnikov. They all have a better understanding and expression of nature; Kalinnikov was sponsored by Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff and unfortunately died at age 34.