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

Rimsky-Korsakov - Scheherazade, Op. 35

Costumes for Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade by Léon Bakst.


Written in 1888 is perhaps the most popular work of the composer. It was inspired by Thousand and One Nights (also known as The Arabian Nights), a collection of stories from the East of the 9th century.

In the sheet music headline, the composer describes the following program: 

"Sultan Schariar, convinced of women's infidelity, vows to execute his wives after the first night. But Sultana Scheherazade is saved by entertaining him with stories that last a thousand and one nights. Sultana arouses the Sultan's curiosity with her stories, and he constantly postpones her execution. He finally withdraws his terrible oath. Scheherazade told the Sultan many wondrous stories, combining the lyrics of the poets with the words of the songs and the fairy tales with the adventures".

Movements:

I. The Sea and Sinbad's Ship: Largo e maestoso – Lento – Allegro non troppo – Tranquillo

The inaugural measures of The Sea and the Sinbad's Ship announce the issue of Sultan Schariar - with strength and determination. Here are quiet and restrained chords that lead to a solo melody of the violin, impressively lysed but no less decisive - the Scheherazade itself. After this description of the characters begins the story.

In front of us now opens up the vastness of the open sea. Strings create a wavy melody as the sound fluctuates. On stage, Sinbad's boat is milked - a beautiful theme, with harmonious richness. Every now and then, Scheherazade's solo violin reappears. We also hear the subject of Schariar, dark and eerie.


II. The Kalandar Prince: Lento – Andantino – Allegro molto – Vivace scherzando – Moderato assai – Allegro molto ed animato 

The violin recalls that Scheherazade begins another story, The Kalandar Prince - and the expressive melody of the bassoon representing the prince begins. The prince is a member of the cult of the Kalandar monks, who were known for their ability to tell stories and their humor, so it is no surprise that the composer wrote a light and cheerful theme for him.

But the relaxed mood doesn't last long. Trombone and trumpet require our attention and a dynamic report of the Sultan's theme interrupts. But soon the music re-sings and the violin - this time playing the theme of Kalandar - reminds us one last time of the narrator before the place reaches its impressive conclusion.

 

III. The Young Prince and The Young Princess: Andantino quasi allegretto – Pochissimo più mosso – Come prima – Pochissimo più animato

The story of The Young Prince and The Young Princess takes us to a new world peaceful and peaceful. Strings introduce slow, polite theme, while the engagements of woodwinds add lighter decorative trace.

Later a rhythmic shape on the side of the drums, introduces a more vivid adaptation of the melody.

Towards the end of the part, the solo violin makes the first appearance of Scheherazade. In the final section, the slip of the harp and the aravours of the woodwinds create the exotic landscape.


IV. Festival at Baghdad. The Sea. The Ship Breaks against a Cliff Surmounted by a Bronze Horseman: Allegro molto – Lento – Vivo – Allegro non troppo e maestoso – Tempo come I

The mood of the final part is clearly lighter and soon we are led to the crowding of the Baghdad bazaar, to the climax of the celebration. A vivid exhibition of the Sultan's theme brings us back from the tenderness of the lovers to a more ominous reality.

Melodies from previous stories return and the most spectacular remains the inaugural music of the sea. This gradually introduces a feeling of relief that leads the project to a serene conclusion.


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