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

Gershwin - An American in Paris

In the 1920s Paris exerted great charm on many Americans, particularly writers, artists and musicians.

George Gershwin and his fellow songwriter Cole Porter didn't escape its charm. The latter wrote several songs praising the city, while Gershwin composed his most ambitious orchestral work for Paris - An American in Paris.

It was first presented at New York's Carnegie Hall in 1928, by the famous Walter Johannes Damrosch's direction.

Twenty years later the play inspired a great musical film, starring Gene Kelly.

A symphonic poem

This work is a "symphonic poem", which recalls images and sounds from Paris, according to Gershwin's personal experiences.

A small vivid melody played by violins, with subtle harmonies on the substrate, introduces the American visitor. The piercing sound of the old horns of the Parisian taxis intensifies the sense of the noise of the boulevards. A quiet, thoughtful section, with finer harmonies in wood instruments and strings, invokes a sense of the city, perhaps a night under the starry sky.

The music rediscovers the rhythm, before Gershwin introduces another of his delightful melodies. A polite rhythmic figure, played first by a trumpet solo, in an obvious blues style.

A new, carefree melody also played by a solo trumpet, eventually takes the music back to the lively opening theme and them to the apparent ending of the "sad note".