Carl Maria von Weber - Euryanthe: Overture

Carl Maria von Weber composed the opera Euryanthe  during the period 1822-23 and first presented it in Vienna on October 25, 1823. The work was based on a French medieval history of 13th century.  The year Euryanthe was presented was marked by Vienna's interest in Italian operas, particularly those of Rossini . Although the initail reception was enthusiastic, the opera lasted only twenty performances, with complaints about the libretto and the length of the opera. For the failure of the play, the somewhat wordy libretto of the poet and writer Helmina von Chézy was blamed. Franz Schubert also commented that "This is not music". Nevertheless, the introduction is an excellent example of orchestral writing and remains one of the best. The Overture begins with an extremely lively and cheerful phrase. Oboe and clarinet, supported by horn and trombones, then present a theme of three emphatic notes, followed by a shorter ascending group of notes (with a stressed rhythm). Soon t

Harpsichord


The harpsichord has been sounding for about six hundred years. It's a keyboard instrument, but its strings are stimulated in a nocturnal way and not by hammering like on the piano. The sound produced is characteristic and easily recognized.

When the harpsichord first appeared, it immediately became beloved and its reputation spread throughout Europe. With the begining of the 16th century it became extremely popular and the composers used it in almost every organic combination. It served more as an accompaniment, providing the harmonious substrate, rather than as a solo instrument.

The body of the harpsichord has the shape of a wing. For each note there are two or more strings - the performer can choose how many are used at a time, allowing the instrument to produce loud and soft sounds. Some later instruments used a mechanism to change the volume, opening and closing some grilles on the body of the instrument, allowing the sound to strengthen. Usually the harpsichords have two, sometimes three, keyboards that each produce a different toss quality.

Around the end of the 18th century, the harpsichord began to lose its popularity as the piano developed. For about a hundred years it remained forgotten. In this century, however, the harpsichord knows a kind of rebirth.

How the harpsichord works

The operation of the keyboards is mechanical. When the performer presses a key, its opposite end (inside the instrument) lifts a pen attached to a thin elongated wood or plastic, the yoke, which hits the string.

An escape mechanism allows the yoke to return to its original position without re-strikeing the string. A mechanism also adapted to the yoke, moves a pillow dressed in felt, the silencer, which touches the string, interrupts its tone and stops the sound of the note.

The pen, originally made of feather or leather, is now made of plastic.



Comments