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

Ravel - Tzigane (Gypsy)

The hungarian violonist Jelly d'Aranyi

In 1922, Maurice Ravel was deeply impressed by the hungarian violonist Jelly d'Aranyi, when he heard him play the gypsy music of his homeland. The composer's interest in this style resulted in this workd for violin and piano - and later for orchestra - which he composed in 1924. The work contains many elements of gypsy music.

A long and complex solo segment on violin, begins this wonderful and unusual concerto rhapsody. The passionate play of the soloist, immediately takes us to old Hungary. The oriental scales with the strangeness for the western ear style, which so fascinated Ravel, dominate dearly here from the beginning.

Other features are the chords of the violin and a multitude of string techniques, which make up this wonderful concerto-style work.

A long trill leads to the second half of the play. At first we hear the harp that combines fiery grabs and glisanti with the violin trills. We alos hear the exotic string techniques. At one point, the soloist plays bows and pizzicati (with his left hand) at the same time.

The second half of the play is more "amiable", as the virtuoso part of the beginning is replaced by simpler melodies for the violin and the orchestra.