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

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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