Discovering a first edition of Beethoven’s “Pastoral” in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Posted on: August 5, 2020

“To the casual viewer, the ecru-colored musical score sitting on a stand in the Moravian Music Foundation in Old Salem looks pretty much like any other sheet music,” writes Lynn Felder in Sunday’s (8/3) Winston-Salem Journal (North Carolina). “ ‘It’s immediately familiar and looks like the music of today,’ said Timothy Redmond, music director of the Winston-Salem Symphony. “Upon closer inspection, a couple of things jump out: 1) The score has no rehearsal letters or measure numbers, so an orchestra leader couldn’t easily tell players where to start over during practice, and 2) The score was published in 1809. Oh, and it’s a first edition printing of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony, also called the ‘Pastoral.’… Greeted with the fact that the local Moravian Archive has a first edition of Beethoven’s Sixth, the Winston-Salem Symphony, which had been planning to perform Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony back in April, pivoted and decided to present the Sixth instead. Sadly, due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the concert was … canceled…. David Blum, a research librarian at the Moravian Music Foundation, realized that the foundation owns an original edition of a set of parts of Beethoven’s Sixth … The ‘Pastoral’ was influential on all that came after it, Redmond said.”