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

Saint-Saëns - Fantaisie No. 1 for Organ in E-flat Major

As a student, Saint-Saëns won several awards for his performance on the church organ, so it is not surprising that at the same time he composed music for the instrument. The Fantasy in E-flat Major was composed in 1857, at the time when the composer was an organist at the Saint Mary's Church in Paris. Although an early work, it is an excellent example of the brilliant style of Saint-Saëns.

A low restrained chord introduces the sweet sound of the opening melody. The lively, but almost airy rhythm, shows that this piece is intended to pleasure, since all solemnity or grandeur is missing from here. The melody is repeated higher and a second theme is presented. 

The second part is in stark contrast to the first - a resonant initial chord introduces an evolving march. The music here rather gets serious and becomes academic - the melody sounds first by itself, then repetitive and pretentious. The composition ends with an extended version of the original theme.


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