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


Maracas (almost always used in a pair) is an important instrument of the Latin American orchestra. The distinctive rustling and soft rhythmic tone seem to represent the dancers' own movements.

The first maracas (now known as shakers) were dried pumpkins, whose seeds rattled when they moved. Later, they emptied the pumpkins from their content, scraped them and filled them with larger seeds or gravel to improve the sound of the instrument. Pumpkins were often selected on the basis of their shape - the neck could be used as an organ handle.

Maracas belong to the category of "empty rattles". They are among the oldest instruments and have been used for various purposes. They were associated with magec, used in religious ceremonies, as coordinators of the rhythm of dancers and more recently as rattles for babies.

From Cuba
The pumpkin rattle is their most widespread form. In places where pumplkins do not grow, the instrument is made from other materials. Ceramic versions are common and are often given the form of animals. Rattles made of turkey and wild duck skulls have been found in escavations of prehistoric tombs, while dried toad animal tome filled with pebbles was previously used by North American Indians.

The material used for filling also varies. In cases, only the seeds of a particular plant are acceptable - in parts of Central Africa is the canna plant. More recently, plastic pellets or even lead pops have been used, giving a heavy sound to the instrument.

How Maracas work
The sound produced by the maraca is determined by the size of the instrument, the material of its construction, as well as the weight and size of the pellets it contains. A certain degree of tonality can be differentiated between organs, although maracas can hardly reach tonics that would be characterized in more detail, beyond "low" or "high".

The maracas are usuall played with a shaking of the hand forward, with the right hand generally leading and interpreting the powerful beats. During the performance, the performer often uses many instruments of different tonality, to add the element of variety to the rhythms of the music.