Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony is in many ways his most startlingly original. It has a programmatic content, it is in five movements, and its mood is quite different from the usual barnstorming image of the composer. Why did he want to compose such a work? Why did it take him five years to realize his vision? What was he hoping to communicate? How did he achieve it? Finally, how was the work received? David Wyn Jones addresses all these vital questions in a fascinating account of this popular work and the context in which it was written.