BBC Music Magazine
In Into the woods (Dec issue) Malcolm Hayes writes that ‘[music about] forests did not always need to suggest metaphysics’. This applies even in the Romantic 19th century, when symphonies were composed simply about forests themselves. Many say Bruckner’s ‘Romantic’ Fourth Symphony (1874-88) is a painting of the German Romantic forest and before this, in 1870, Raff premiered his Symphony No. 3, ‘Im Walde’ (In the Forest), in which he describes a 24-hour woodland stay. Even in countries not known for their extended
woodland, about Zweers’s forests Third compositions were Symphony, written. In ‘To my Fatherland’ (1890) the first movement is titled ‘In Dutch forests and woodlands’. No metaphysics involved. Nor, in the 20th century, is there anything metaphysical about
Shostakovich’s cantata The Song of the Forests, in which (re) forestation is lauded. The work has not yet been discovered by environmentalists, as far as I know.
Jacob Buis, Betws-y-coed