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

Tschaikovsky - 1812 Overture, op. 49

Tchaikovsky's Overture 1812 expresses Russia's nationalist spirit for the Russians' magnificent victory over Napoleon.

In 1880, when he was writing the charming Serenade for Strings, Tchaikovsky undertook to compose a "ceremonial introduction" for an exhibition of industrial art in Moscow. As a theme of his introduction he chose Napoleon's Russia Campaign, which ended with the great victory of the Russian Army. At first the composer intended the introduction to be for outdoor performance and felt that it should be "very loud and noisy". Since then the introduction has become his most famous and most popular concert work.

The "1812 Overture" is in fact an introduction to a concerto, in other words is a stand-alone work of orchestral music and not an introduction to opera or a more extensive work. The play describes the invasion of Russia by Napoleon's troops in 1812 and their retreat and defeat in the winter of the same year. Despite the composer's doubts about the music, it is certainly a very successful anniversary project.

It begins gently and ritually with the strings that play the melody of an old Russian anthem. Soon the music becomes rhythmic, as Napoleon's troops are promoted to Russia. Tchaikovsky depicts the warring troops using escerpts from the French national anthem (La Marseillaise) and various Russian traditional melodies.

The Spirit of Mother Russia

But another theme that violins play high, invokes the insetheless spirit of Mother Russia. The sound of the cannon and the cymbal squash, recalls the battle of Borodino, near Moscow (the French arrived in Moscow, but were soon forced to retreat due to devastation they suffered from the terrible Russian winter).

The introduction celebrates the final Russian victory with musical cannons and a joyous bell, while the brass instruments triumplantly announce the theme of the Russian national anthem.


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