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

Bedřich Smetana - Libuše Overture

The beautiful Prague where Smetana came to study. He'd rather watch the concerts than go to school.

In 1848 liberal revolutions broke out throughout Europe. Most of them crashed, but their effect gave ordinary people an unprecedented pride in their national identity. This feeling was particularly strong in Bohemia, where the Czechs were for centuries under the rule of the Habsburgs, the monarchs of Austria.

This revival of patriotism was conveyed by Bedřich Smetana to the music of Libuše's three-act festival opera, which he wrote from 1869 to 1872. As Smetana was an excellent craftsman of the symphonic poem, his operas had freshness and dramatic intensity.

Although deeply influenced by Richard Wagner and Franz Liszt, he created a highly personal, sensational music that praised the spirit of the Czech people. The opera refers to the legendary events that led to the establishment of the first Royal Bohemian Přemyslid dynasty in the 13th century.

The opera was not just a stage work, but rather an epic destined to be presented in great festive occasions. "I regard this opera as my most perfect dramatic work," Smetana himself said of Libuše. Seventy years later, when the Nazis occupied Czechoslovakia during World War II, they realized that opera was still axing the patriotism of the Czechs and banned it.

The imposing fanfare of the trumpets, which resonates at the beginning of the Libuše Overture, invokes the legendary royal world which is also the theme of opera. However, the softer and more lyrical part of the flute and the oboe that follows, states that Libuše refers to both human passions and royal magnificence and heroic feats.

The orchestra picks up the lyrical theme from the woodwinds and develops it by adding new elements of royal grandeur, to return to a melancholy mood. The initial fanfare sounds distant before the dramatic return of the orchestra, announced by the rhythmic beat of the drums. This intensely patriotic and moving work ends with a serene note.