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Beethoven’s Cuckoo: A Comparison

Beethoven and Cuckoo

San Francisco Symphony, Wednesday at 8:00 PM

Composers are the ultimate mockingbirds. They hear other birds’ calls and simply can’t resist scoring them for flutes, clarinets, oboes, string sections, even pipe organs. There is one bird that the composer/mockingbird species especially likes to mock: the cuckoo. Beethoven, Delius and Mahler have all imitated the cuckoo.

On Wednesday’s edition of the San Francisco Symphony, hear this shy, insectivorous bird’s solos in Beethoven’s 6th Symphony, The Pastoral. It’s a pastoral program with Michael Tilson Thomas conducting the Beethoven, plus Mahler’s symphonic movement titled Blumine, inspired by blooms or flowers.

Audition the real cuckoo side-by-side with Beethoven’s cuckoo here:

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