Ludwig van Beethoven

Symphony No. 6 in F major ("Pastoral"), Op. 68

    Description by Roger Dettmer

    For roughly 175 years, the music appreciation racket has told us that Beethoven composed symphonies in contrasting odd-even pairs after 1803, none more startling than the heaven-storming Fifth and bucolic Sixth. Originally, however, he assigned the designation of "No. 5" to the Pastoral for their shared debut on surely the most historic night in Western music, December 22, 1808. Beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the unheated Theater an der Wien, he premiered both symphonies, the Fourth Piano Concerto, "Choral" Fantasy, "Ah! perfido!" (a concert aria from 1796), and introduced a Viennese audience to excerpts from the C major Mass, an Esterházy commission of 1807 that Prince Nicolaus II disliked when he heard it.

    Beethoven began making specific notes for a "Sinfonia pastorale" in 1806, but didn't complete the work until 1808, in the village of Heiligenstadt northwest of Vienna. If this had been an unlikely hatchery in 1807 for the fist-brandishing Fifth Symphony, it perfectly suited -- as he noted in his sketchbook -- "recollections of country life...more the expression of feeling than of painting" in his ensuing woodwind-drenched symphony (although violins get first crack at nine of its 12 significant themes).

    "Cheerful impressions wakened by arrival in the country" (Allegro ma non troppo, in F major, 2/4) is the first movement. It is in sonata form, pretty much by the book, with violins introducing all themes. The second-movement "Scene by the brook" (Andante molto moto, in B flat major and 12/8 time) is a Sonata structure again, but more relaxed, with a limpid main theme for violins and a bassoon sub-theme. In the coda, the flute impersonates a nightingale, the oboe a quail, and the clarinet a cuckoo. The third movement, "Merry gathering of country folk" (Allegro, 3/4 time, F major), is an expanded song-and-trio, with a 2/4 section in "tempo d'Allegro" that creates the effect of an ABCABCA structure, leading without pause to the fourth movement, "Thunderstorm; tempest" (Allegro; F minor, 4/4). From the first raindrop to last, this is purely depictive music. It is followed by a 10-bar chorale that segues the final "Shepherd's song; glad and grateful tidings after the storm" (Allegretto; F major, 6/8), a sonata-rondo, whose C-section some have called a development section. The fun includes a sly parody of amateur musicians before the long, progressively tranquil coda that ends with a pianistic gesture: two fortissimo chords.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Allegro ma non troppo (Awakening of happy feelings on arriving in the country)
    2. Andante molto moto (Scene by the Brook)
    3. Allegro (Peasant's merrymaking)
    4. Allegro (The storm)
    5. Allegretto (Shepherds' song. Joyous thanksgiving after the storm)

    Appears On

    Year Title / Performer Label / Catalog # AllMusic Rating
    2021
    RCO Live
    RCO 19005
    2020
    ABC Classic
    4819075
    2020
    CAvi-music
    AVI 8553114
    2020
    Pentatone / PentaTone Classics
    PTC 5186860
    2020
    Alto
    ALC 1388
    2020
    Signum Classics
    SIGCD 639
    2020
    Warner Classics
    0190295164034
    2020
    Harmonia Mundi
    HMM 902425
    2020
    Ondine
    ODE 13485Q
    2020
    Decca
    4850219
    2020
    SWR Music
    SWR 19525CD
    2020
    Alpha
    479
    2019
    Deutsche Grammophon
    B003111960
    2019
    Profil - Edition Günter Hänssler
    PH 18066
    2019
    PentaTone Classics
    PTC 5186809
    2019
    Wiener Symphoniker
    WS 016
    2019
    Warner Classics
    9029539882
    2019
    Naxos
    8505251
    2018
    Edition Taschenphilharmonie
    ETP 010
    2018
    Urania Records
    WS 121364
    2018
    Alpha
    380
    2018
    Warner Classics
    2018
    Capriccio Records
    C 7275
    2018
    Warner Classics
    2018
    Sony Classical
    19075850472
    2018
    Decca / Deutsche Grammophon
    4798418
    2017
    Warner Classics
    0190295886691
    2017
    Berlin Classics
    0300926 BC
    2017
    Tafelmusik Media
    TMK 1034CD
    2017
    Decca / London
    2017
    Opus KURA
    OPK 2116
    2017
    Decca / London
    2017
    Warner Classics
    0190295824600
    2017
    Accentus
    ACC 80322
    2017
    Nimbus Records
    NI 1713
    2017
    Deutsche Grammophon
    4797477
    2017
    PentaTone Classics
    PTC 5186250
    2016
    Deutsche Grammophon
    4795805
    2016
    Warner Classics
    0190295975098
    2016
    Deutsche Grammophon
    4795977
    2016
    RCA Red Seal
    88875169792
    2016
    Orchid Classics
    ORC 100059
    2016
    Deutsche Grammophon
    4796314
    2016
    Profil - Edition Günter Hänssler
    PH 13037
    2016
    Berliner Philharmoniker
    BPHR 160091
    2016
    Tacet
    TACET 974
    2015
    Analekta
    AN 291505
    2015
    London Philharmonic Orchestra / LPO
    LPO 0085
    2015
    K-Tel
    136438
    2015
    Various Artists
    Profil - Edition Günter Hänssler
    PH 14026
    2015
    Sony Classical / Sony Music Distribution
    88875112822
    2015
    MDG
    MDGSC 9371883
    2015
    BR Klassik
    900136
    2015
    Vinyl Passion / Vinyl Passion Classical
    VPC 85006
    2015
    Sony Classical
    88875123912
    2015
    Deutsche Grammophon
    4794306
    2015
    Andromeda
    ANDRCD 9079
    2015
    Walt Disney
    D 002066392
    2015
    Melodiya
    MELCD 1002295
    2014
    Deutsche Grammophon
    2014
    EMI Classics / Warner Classics
    5099999356521
    2014
    Ermitage / Fabula Classica
    FAB 12060
    2014
    Warner Classics
    2564627829
    2014
    Melodiya
    MELCD 1002228
    2014
    Warner Classics
    545117
    2014
    Warner Classics
    2564633735
    2014
    Glossa
    GCDC 81118
    2014
    Philips / Universal
    4758147
    2014
    Urania
    WS 121178
    2014
    Deutsche Grammophon
    2014
    Sony Classical
    88843014642
    2014
    Classic FM / Decca
    CFMD 34
    2014
    Andromeda
    ANDRCD 5061
    2014
    Urania
    WS 121277
    2014
    Deutsche Grammophon
    2013
    Archiv Produktion
    002894791045AB55
    2013
    Various Artists
    Brilliant Classics
    94630
    2013
    Crystal Classics
    DELTA 80006
    2013
    K2 HD
    KHD 2079
    2013
    Deutsche Grammophon / Universal
    423 203-2GMW
    2013
    Warner Classics
    2013
    BR Klassik
    900119
    2013
    Decca / Mercury
    4785092
    2013
    Oehms Classics
    OC 090
    2013
    Naxos
    8501204
    2013
    Deutsche Grammophon
    4791046
    2013
    Supraphon
    SU 41402
    2012
    Decca
    4783511
    2012
    Decca / Universal
    2012
    Brilliant Classics
    94289
    2012
    Challenge Classics / North Star Records
    CC 72550
    2012
    Haenssler / Hänssler Classic
    HAEN 93285
    2012
    Warner Classics
    2012
    Avi-Music / CAvi-music
    AVI 8553258
    2012
    EMI Classics / Warner Classics
    5099967871
    2012
    Decca
    4783495
    2012
    EMI Classics / Warner Classics
    5099960230324
    2012
    EMI Classics
    2012
    Deutsche Grammophon / Universal
    2012
    Deutsche Grammophon
    2012
    Deutsche Grammophon
    4783380
    2012
    Broken Audio
    BRAU 0795
    2012
    Teldec Classics International / Warner Classics / Warner Classics International
    61890
    2012
    Glossa
    GCDSA 921116
    2012
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    5099963565
    2012
    Various Artists
    Naxos
    8501060
    2012
    Supraphon
    SU 40812
    2012
    Deutsche Grammophon
    002894770055
    2012
    Roslin Records
    Rod 3710
    2012
    Concerto / Zebralution
    2012
    Andromeda
    ANDRCD 9093
    2011
    RCO Live
    RCO 11004
    2011
    Deutsche Grammophon
    2011
    Deutsche Grammophon
    2011
    Deutsche Grammophon
    4779830
    2011
    Musical Concepts
    MC199
    2011
    Various Artists
    Brilliant Classics
    94052
    2011
    EMI Classics / Warner Classics
    5099909794
    2011
    Warner Classics
    2011
    Naïve
    V 5258
    2011
    Supraphon
    SU40512
    2011
    Sony Classical
    88697927172
    2011
    Music & Arts
    CD1252
    2011
    Decca
    2011
    Helicon Records
    029628
    2011
    Avie
    AV 2242
    2011
    Sony Classical
    88697923602
    2011
    Warner Classics
    63779
    2011
    Red Bus Classical
    RCLAS 005
    2011
    Nimbus Alliance
    NI 6145
    2011
    Pentatone / PentaTone Classics
    PTC 5186312
    2011
    Newton Classics
    8802077
    2011
    Decca
    2011
    Decca
    4782721
    2011
    Erato
    2564698905
    2011
    IDIS
    IDIS 6619
    2011
    Membran
    233373
    2011
    Audite
    21408
    2011
    Challenge Classics
    CC72383
    2010
    Challenge Classics
    CC 72361
    2010
    Denon Records
    2010
    EMI Classics
    2010
    Fuga Libera
    564
    2010
    Channel Classics
    30710
    2010
    Sony Music Distribution
    88697648162
    2010
    Decca
    4100032
    2010
    Decca
    2010
    Archiv Produktion
    477 864-3
    2010
    Decca
    2010
    Archiv Produktion / Deutsche Grammophon
    4778643
    2010
    Sony Classical
    8869768365
    2010
    Sonoma Entertainment
    SBT 20107
    2010
    Music & Arts
    954
    2010
    Deutsche Grammophon
    2010
    Deutsche Grammophon
    2894778840
    2010
    Sony Music Distribution
    232779
    2010
    Deutsche Grammophon
    2009
    Various Artists
    Berlin Classics
    0149572
    2009
    Denon Records
    2009
    Denon Records
    2009
    Bella Musica / Zebralution
    2009
    Bella Musica / Zebralution
    2009
    Denon Records
    00795041941329
    2009
    PentaTone Classics
    5186314
    2009
    Deutsche Grammophon / Universal
    2009
    Brilliant Classics
    93840
    2009
    Denon Records
    2009
    Denon Records
    2009
    Rca Red Seal
    88697542542
    2009
    Denon Records
    2009
    Decca / Deutsche Grammophon
    2009
    Myto Historical Line
    197
    2009
    Maestro Music
    4693670
    2009
    Elatus
    49004
    2009
    Testament
    1452
    2009
    Denon Records
    2009
    Denon Records
    00795041978660
    2009
    Royal Philharmonic Masterworks
    28010
    2009
    Medici Arts
    19
    2009
    Denon Records
    2009
    Denon Records
    2009
    Denon Records
    2009
    Denon Records
    2009
    Denon Records
    2009
    BIS
    1825/26
    2009
    Denon Records
    2009
    Tahra / TAHRA
    675676
    2009
    Melodiya
    MELCD 1001512
    2009
    Walt Disney
    2009
    Documents/Membran
    223508
    2009
    Audite
    21403
    2008
    Deutsche Grammophon
    4777578
    2008
    Berlin Classics
    0184442
    2008
    EMI Classics
    5089942
    2008
    EMI Classics
    08993
    2008
    EMI Classics
    2008
    Sony Classical
    45891
    2008
    Col Legno Classics
    60004
    2008
    Classics for Pleasure
    2008
    EMI Classics
    5176592
    2008
    Warner Classics
    2008
    Deutsche Grammophon
    459171
    2008
    GOP Great Opera Performances
    77402
    2008
    ZYX Music
    10321
    2008
    Zig Zag Territoires
    80402
    2008
    Landscape Classics
    2008
    EMI Classics
    2008
    Col Legno
    60006
    2008
    EMI Classics / Warner Classics
    5099951586
    2008
    Deutsche Grammophon
    4630882
    2008
    Deutsche Grammophon
    4775864
    2008
    Document / Membran
    231884
    2008
    Corona Classic Collection
    0000182CCC
    2008
    Telarc Distribution
    80730
    2008
    Universal Classics & Jazz
    2008
    Berlin Classics
    184532
    2008
    Corona Records
    0002672CCC
    2008
    Berlin Classics
    0014232BC
    2008
    Brilliant
    93161
    2008
    EMI Classics / Warner Classics
    5099951203
    2007
    Various Artists
    Analekta
    299705
    2007
    Disques XXI
    1489
    2007
    Hungaroton
    41007
    2007
    Music & Arts
    1203
    2007
    Brilliant Classics
    93525
    2007
    Cascade Records
    2200
    2007
    EMI Classics
    367530
    2007
    Ambroisie
    9993
    2007
    Oehms Classics
    523
    2007
    BIS
    1716
    2007
    Rhino
    2007
    Universal Classics & Jazz
    2007
    Medici Masters
    2
    2007
    Cala Records
    545
    2007
    Profil - Edition Günter Hänssler
    8005
    2007
    Melodiya
    MELCD 1001102
    2007
    Sony Music Distribution
    5185082
    2007
    EMI Classics
    87739
    2007
    EMI Classics
    3777672
    2007
    Deutsche Grammophon
    000966502
    2007
    Decca
    4759090
    2007
    Various Artists
    Document
    223602
    2007
    Various Artists
    Simply
    036
    2007
    Berlin Classics
    0186002
    2007
    Hyperion
    44301
    2007
    Various Artists
    Brilliant
    93178
    2006
    BCI Music (Brentwood Communication)
    41424
    2006
    Warner Classics
    2006
    Elatus
    2006
    Document
    224051
    2006
    LSO Live
    598
    2006
    EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics
    0946371462
    2006
    EMI Classics / Warner Classics
    2006
    Berlin / Berlin Classics
    0185332
    2006
    Doremi Records
    71116
    2006
    Warner Music
    63779
    2006
    EMI Classics
    3414122
    2006
    Warner Classics
    2006
    LSO Live
    582
    2006
    LSO
    82
    2006
    Opus KURA
    7016
    2006
    Madacy
    52319
    2006
    Edel Classics
    2202
    2006
    Monograph
    2MO1002
    2005
    Archipel
    0091
    2005
    Brilliant
    92766
    2005
    EMI Classics
    2005
    Pentatone Classics
    5186142
    2005
    Audite
    95531
    2005
    Analekta
    29831
    2005
    Arte Nova
    496950
    2005
    RCA Red Seal
    67898
    2005
    Virgin Classics
    624892A
    2005
    EMI Classics
    2005
    EMI Classics
    2005
    EMI Classics
    2005
    EMI Classics
    2005
    Silverline Records
    2842102
    2005
    Archipel
    0147
    2005
    Philips
    4756883
    2005
    Teldec / Warner Classics / Warner Music
    4618902
    2005
    Document
    221790
    2005
    Deutsche Grammophon
    4775254
    2005
    Audiophile Classics / Audiophile Records
    101564
    2005
    Nimbus
    9004
    2004
    Arts Music
    47700
    2004
    Brilliant
    99793
    2004
    Philips
    000251636
    2004
    Naïve
    4971
    2004
    Universal Classics
    000344002
    2004
    Opus KURA
    7001
    2004
    Deutsche Grammophon
    474603
    2004
    EMI Classics / Warner Classics
    7243585490
    2004
    Silverline Records
    288264
    2004
    High Definition Classics
    048
    2004
    Deutsche Grammophon
    000218502
    2004
    PentaTone Classics
    5186159
    2004
    Naxos
    8508007
    2004
    Various Artists
    Brilliant
    92387
    2004
    EMI Music Distribution
    575751
    2004
    Resonance
    504
    2004
    Sony Music Distribution
    92480
    2004
    Philips
    4752722
    2004
    Laserlight
    40027
    2004
    Apex
    60457
    2004
    EMI Music Distribution
    62939
    2004
    Musidisc / Universal
    4762436
    2004
    History
    205651
    2004
    Artone
    222341
    2004
    Intersound
    5854
    2004
    Biddulph Recordings
    008
    2003
    Capriccio Records
    50000
    2003
    Orfeo
    600031
    2003
    EMI Classics
    57445
    2003
    EMI Music Distribution
    57568
    2003
    Artemis Classics
    1192
    2003
    EMI Classics
    2003
    Haenssler
    93089
    2003
    Teldec
    092749768
    2003
    RCA
    89109
    2003
    Apex
    4604532
    2003
    Haenssler
    93086
    2003
    Classic Collection
    99868
    2003
    Deutsche Grammophon
    1464
    2003
    Deutsche Grammophon
    474 260-2GX2
    2003
    Decca / Deutsche Grammophon
    2003
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    8110861
    2003
    EMI Music Distribution
    67966
    2003
    Warner Classics
    2003
    Telarc Distribution
    80145
    2003
    Deutsche Grammophon
    474018
    2003
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    55702
    2003
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    87328
    2003
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    000165536
    2003
    Delta Distribution
    40031
    2003
    Aura Classics
    0240
    2003
    Testament
    1217
    2003
    Various Artists
    History
    45515
    2003
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    4744002
    2002
    BCI Music (Brentwood Communication)
    40181
    2002
    JVC Compact Discs
    20
    2002
    Brilliant
    99927
    2002
    Urania
    URN 22227
    2002
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    89838
    2002
    Sony Music Distribution
    87885
    2002
    Dutton Laboratories
    9716
    2002
    Classica d'Oro
    1064
    2002
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    98396
    2002
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    2016
    2002
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    8573830612
    2002
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    2021
    2002
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    80006
    2002
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    70616
    2002
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    75133
    2002
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    14572
    2002
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    8110859
    2002
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    75115
    2002
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    420-421
    2002
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    4988
    2001
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    66656
    2001
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    89108
    2001
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    7243561943
    2001
    Philips
    4681022
    2001
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    2001
    Deutsche Grammophon
    471489
    2001
    Vox
    7808
    2001
    EMI Music Distribution
    67493
    2001
    EMI Classics
    63034
    2001
    CBC Records
    PSCD2021
    2001
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    7243567496
    2001
    Various Artists
    Legacy Entertainment
    CBX001
    2001
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    1054-1057
    2001
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    203090
    2001
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    70708
    2001
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    205253
    2001
    Walt Disney / Buena Vista / Disney
    60007
    2000
    Teldec
    28144
    2000
    Deutsche Grammophon
    469000
    2000
    Decca
    2000
    Naxos
    110927
    2000
    CPO
    99474-2
    2000
    Amadis
    18501
    2000
    Grammofono 2000
    78895
    2000
    Berlin Classics
    0093462
    2000
    Arkadia
    78521
    2000
    Unesco
    70636
    2000
    Grammofono 2000
    78961
    2000
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    83061
    2000
    Seraphim Classics
    7243573729
    2000
    Seraphim Classics
    2000
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    7057
    2000
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    78591
    2000
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    1182
    2000
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    27838
    2000
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    73895
    2000
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    121/23
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    78934
    2000
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    1008-1009
    2000
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    70527
    2000
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    0074
    2000
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    13592
    1999
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    1751
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    78890
    1999
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    531
    1999
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    65410
    1999
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    6012
    1999
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    447901
    1999
    Classics for Pleasure / EMI Music Distribution
    72848
    1999
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    78554
    1999
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    73326
    1999
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    8402
    1999
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    175709
    1999
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    90035
    1999
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    332
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    421773
    1999
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    56840
    1999
    Aura Classics
    0133
    1999
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    99093
    1999
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    3858
    1999
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    9010
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    463468
    1999
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    1763
    1999
    Various Artists
    BCI Music (Brentwood Communication)
    223
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    Music & Arts
    4049
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    1331
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    533
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    78032
    1998
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    1736
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    72923
    1998
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    NI1760
    1998
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    66792
    1998
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    78542
    1998
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    8 554061
    1998
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    55836
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    60557
    1998
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    11538
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    2801
    1998
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    78852
    1998
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    78826
    1998
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    78805
    1998
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    703732
    1998