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

Harp


The sound of the harp has an ethereal quality, which creates the mental image of a divine being playing wavy arppegios, seated in a silver cloud.

There is evidence that the harp has been known in Egypt and Mesopotamia since 3000 BC. In ancient times the harps were generally much smaller than today's. The instrument was then called "lyre". These small buckles rested on the corner of the bent arm. Today's harp is so large that it needs a track base to transport it.

The body of the modern harp is mainly made of maple and its speaker is made of pine. Some very expensive harps are covered with gold leaf and are richly decorated. The harp strings are made of intestines, while the longer strings are wrapped with very thin wire to be more durable. As with the piano, the longer a string is, the lower the note produced. In the harp, due to their apparent uniformity, the strings are painted in different colors depending on the height of the note, to facilitate the performer.

The harp was undoubtedly the most common instrument of voice accompaniment before the keyboards were deployed. The Celtic and Welsh harps have been known for their use in traditional music for centuries, while the contemporary has been a member of the symphony orchestra since the mid-19th century.

How the harp works
The harp is tuned in the key C-flat nd its pitch range extends to a width of about six octaves. The tonality is altered by a mechanism of seven pedals located at its base. At the touch of a pedal the performer can raise the strings by a halftone or a tone. Each pedal affects only one note of the scale, the entire extent of the instrument. In other words, by pressing the pedal of C-flat once, all C-flat strings are tuned C, while pressing it twice are tuned C-sharp.

When the player presses a pedal, a rubber mechanism rotates a series of discs with forks through which the string passes. The fork presses the string reducing its length and the tuning rises by a halftone. Each string goes through two discs and can therefore be raised by two halftones, one for each position of the pedal.




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