Giuseppe Verdi - Messa da Requiem

Although Requiem was a religious work, it was presented more in concert halls than in churches. Giuseppe Verdi wrote the famous Requiem in honour of his close friend, Alessandro Manzoni, the great Italian poet, writer, and humanist, who died in 1873. It is a powerful fusion of intense drama and passion, with moments of reverent simplicity. Verdi conducted the first performance at St. Mark's Church in Milan on May 22, 1874, the first anniversary of Manzoni's death. Revolutionary composition Verdi's Requiem has been revolutionary in two respects: First, because while the traditional requiem is a prayer of the living for the dead, Verdi's work was a function as much for the living as for the dead. As Verdi would expect, it's a dramatic, theatrical play. Written for four solo voices (soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor and bass) with full choir and orchestra, it follows the typical Roman Catholic Latin mass for the dead. The "libretto" certainly comes from the dram

Beethoven - Fidelio Overture, Op. 72b

Beethoven's only opera "Fidelio" - the myth of a political prisoner, Florestan, saved by his wife Leonore - had a complicated history.

The premiere of the opera was given in Vienna in 1805 (the same time as the Heroic Symphony), entitled Leonore.

Beethoven then revised the play and presented the opera again the following year, but soon withdrew this new form.

For these first versions, as well as for another project that never materialized, he composed the overtures Leonore no. 1, 2 and 3. In 1814, Beethoven revised the opera again, changing its structure from three to two acts and including this new introduction.

The opera was presented in its final form under the title Fidelio and was particularly successful.

Compared to the earlier versions of Leonora No. 3, a work of symphonic dimensions and high drama, Fidelio's Overture is a more accurate and more "professional" work.

It begins with the full orchestra interpreting one of these powerful lyre little motifs that Beethoven often uses as a musical "building material" for the whole part. This impressive exhivition of the theme is highlighted with a slow Adagio introduction, where sluggish horns and wood instruments stand out.

The music becomes more rushed and proceeds effortlessly to the central Allegro part of the introduction, based on the same opening motif of three notes, which perfomrs the solo horn firts and then the clarinet. A second musical theme consists of a more vivid call to the horn and then to the wood instruments, followed by slightly leaping phrases in the strings. Some robust iterations of another laconic phrase lead the melody to the short central development section and then to the recap.

A brief return of the melody follows the slow introduction, which bestows its place in an accelerated coda (Presto), where the pattern of three notes is interpreted with intensity to the last almost measure.