Tschaikovsky - 1812 Overture, op. 49

Tchaikovsky's Overture 1812 expresses Russia's nationalist spirit for the Russians' magnificent victory over Napoleon. In 1880, when he was writing the charming Serenade for Strings, Tchaikovsky undertook to compose a "ceremonial introduction" for an exhibition of industrial art in Moscow. As a theme of his introduction he chose Napoleon's Russia Campaign, which ended with the great victory of the Russian Army. At first the composer intended the introduction to be for outdoor performance and felt that it should be "very loud and noisy". Since then the introduction has become his most famous and most popular concert work. The "1812 Overture" is in fact an introduction to a concerto, in other words is a stand-alone work of orchestral music and not an introduction to opera or a more extensive work. The play describes the invasion of Russia by Napoleon's troops in 1812 and their retreat and defeat in the winter of the same year. Despite

Carl Maria von Weber - Oberon Overture

 

Costume design for one of Weber Oberon's opera characters. Although the work is rarely performed nowadays, at its premiere in London in 1826, it was a huge success.

Oberon Opera  (or The Elf King's Oath) is a 3-act romantic opera and was Carl Maria von Weber's last. He composed it for the Theatre of London's Covent Garden (not for the current building that houses the opera house) and directed its premiere on April 12, 1826, to the cheers of the audience. Unfortunately, he was very ill and the workload required by the opera accelerated his death in London on 5 June 1826.

Oberon's libretto by James Robinson Planché was based on the German poem Oberon by Christoph Martin Wieland, which itself was based on the epic romance "Huon de Bordeaux" (a medieval French tale). However, like Euryanthe, it has never had any real success in its performances, although the introduction is still a much-loved concert work.

Some of the opera's characters are the same as those in Shakespeare's play "Summer Night's Dream," but the story differs. 

The opera is scored for 2 flutes, 2 clarinets (in A), 2 oboes, 2 bassoons, 4 horns (in D and A), 2 trumpets (in D), 3 trombones (alto, tenor and bass), strings and timpani.

The Overture gently introduces three notes of Oberon's magic horn, while there are drowned string phrases, ethereal waterfalls of notes on the woodwinds and a serene antithet of the opera's triumphant march.

A sudden chord performed by the entire orchestra removes the spell of this seductive slow introduction. The rhythm periodically slows down with the return of the horn call, followed by the theme of an important aria of the opera, which is performed for the first time by the solo clarinet and then adopted and developed beautifully by the violins.

In the stormy central section, excerpts of the melody are launched incessantly. Finally, the recap ends with the interpretation of the extended central theme by violins, which is brilliantly supported by all the woodwinds.



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