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A musical interpretation of climate change pays tribute to Beethoven » Yale Climate Connections

Composer Ludwig van Beethoven was passionate about nature. In his sixth symphony, instruments mimic birds, a babbling brook, and a raging storm.

So when the Philadelphia Orchestra commissioned composer Iman Habibi to write a piece for Beethoven’s 250th birthday, in 2020, Habibi considered what Beethoven would have written about if he were alive today.

“What would he have said about the climate crisis that we live in? And there was no doubt in my mind that he would have been writing music about it,” Habibi says.

So Habibi’s piece “Jeder Baum Spricht” is an artistic interpretation of climate change.

“My piece is unsettling in many ways,” he says. “There’s a lot of sudden shifts in the music because we’re living in a time where the unprecedented has become the norm.”

Habibi hopes hearing it reminds people how the natural world has changed and underscores the need for climate action.

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media

Music from “Jeder Baum Spricht” provided by The Philadelphia Orchestra Association.

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