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

Claude Debussy - Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun

Waslav Nijinsky and Flore Revalles in Afternoon of a Faun.

When this instrumental work was first presented in 1894, it provoked strong criticism, that it has no form and does not follow any known tradition. It has a dreamy quality, where the melodies meet in a perpetual, carefree movement.

This work is Debussy's first characteristic and important orchestral work. The inspiration was a poem by his fellow poet Stèphane Mallarmè which describes the atmosphere and the setting of a mythical faun that falls asleep and dreams in a clearing of the forest, on a warm, drowning summer afternoon.

It begins with a long solo of the flute, an instrument that Claude Debussy loved because for him it subjected the distant and lost mythical world. The inaugural melody of the flute or parts of it, revert throughout the play, played alternately by strings and wood wind instruments. The volume of music fluctuates without ever disturbing the basic mood of warmth and chastity.

Also listen to the short harmonic section that gently play the horns. This kind of composing distinguished Debussy as one of the most inspiring orchestrators. He mixes the tonal qualities of the various instruments, as the painter mixes the colors in his palette.