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

Rimsky-Korsakov - The Flight of the Bumblebee

This short music piece of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov was originally written as an add-on for the opera "The Tale of Tsar Saltan". The opera was first presented in Moscow in 1900 with a libretto based on a story by the great Russian poet Pushkin. The "Flight of the Bumblebee" accompanies a scene where the main character - a prince - transforms into a bumblebee.

The unusual nature and pure descriptive qualities of this piece, inspired other musicians to make their own adaptations, usually for solo instruments. The popularity of this piece is in contrast to the rest of the almost forgotten opera music.

A quick descending scale on the piano begins this perfect miniature portrait (in the adaptation for the piano). The opening measures o f the play serve not only as an introduction, but also set the stage - we hear the piano's attempts to mimic the buzz.

From this point, the piano paints a vivid picture of the insect that its flying reminds, as much as no other, of the days of summer.

In the orchestral version, as the play evolves, the melody emerges and sinks and returns to itself, growing in intensity as it moves to the upper limits of the string spectrum. Eventually, the melody climbs to scale, before plunging into a gentle closing pizzicato chord.