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

Franz Liszt - Hungarian Rhapsody No.14 (Fantasia on Hungarian Folk Melodies)

Portrait of Franz Liszt with
Hungarian national costume.
In 1852, while living in Weimar, Franz Liszt developed one of the Hungarian Rhapsodies he had composed for piano, into the Hungarian Fantasy for piano and orchestra. The folk music that Liszt uses here is actually more influenced by Gypsy music than by the dances and songs of the Mayars, which are the real music of his native country Hungary.

The full title of Liszt's Hungarian Fantasy, Fantasia on Hungarian Folk Melodies, is rather incorrect. Almost all of the themes Liszt uses come from the gypsy orchestras he listened to in Vienna, but these musicians often played melodies adapted by other composers. Liszt knew little about the music of the Mayars, the tribe that had travelled from Asia in the old days to eventually settle in Hungary.

Those who revealed the ancient songs and dances of the Mayars as the true national Hungarian music were two composers younger than Liszt, Bella Bartok and Zoltan Kontoyi.

Nevertheless, Liszt offered a lot by focusing attention on the richness of popular music, highlighting the momentum, color and emotion of this folk music in his work and especially in this Fantasia.

The music begins in a melancholy mood, with the horns and bassoons playing in a minor tone. The melody is a adaptation of a Hungarian folk song "Mohac's Field".

After a few virtuoso passages, piano and orchestra again present the purpose, this time in a major tone. Some gypsy-style melodies appear with an additional reference to the opening tune. A quiet inoculated (interlude) prepares the most exciting theme - piano and orchestra gallop towards the end, with a final reminder of the original melody of the Hungarian folk song "Mohac's Field".