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

Georges Bizet - L' Arlésienne (The Girl from Arles), Suite No. 2

Front of the piano transcription of Bizet's L' Arlésienne.


This second suite was created after the death of Georges Bizet by Ernest Guiraud, one of his collaborators. Guiraud used three pieces from Bizet's original, which includes the famous Farandole, but curiously added Menuet from his almost forgotten opera, "The Fair Maid of Perth". It is a wonderful work, particularly beloved by the concert audience, although it does not attribute the drama of rural life of Provence as depicted in the original.

Movements:

I. Pastorale

Pastorale is scenography at its best. The thunderous rhythm of the music, submits the image of the villagers returning from the fields in the midday heat. But there is also lyricism, in the wonderful melody reminiscent of bird chirping and which is introduced just before the pastoral theme is heard again.



II. Intermezzo

In Intermezzo the main melody is rendered by saxophone and horn, accompanied by the strings. It's music is simple and emotional. In the play, this music precedes the scene where Frédéri agrees to forget Arlésienne and marry the girl who loves him long ago.


III. Minuet

Menuet is a loan from Bizet's opera 1866 opera "The Fair Maid of Perth". Full of kindness and grace it is very popular, although it seems a little out of place in the passionate context of the music that surrounds it.


IV. Farandole

The famous Farandole is based on an old melody from Provence. Here, it incorporates the theme of the March of the Kings once again of Suite No. 1 and which is later woven and combined with Farandole. This lively music, full of cheer and life, is an ideal ending to this excellent work.





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