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

Gioachino Rossini - Semiramide


Gioachino Rossini

This is Gioachino Rossini's most serious operatic work since William Tell. It is an opera in two acts and it was first presented at Venice's La Fenice Theatre on February 3, 1823. The libretto by Gaetano Rossi is based on Voltaire's tragedy Semiramis, which in turn was based on the legend of Semiramis of Assyria.

The originality of the Overture is that it incorporates music from the opera, which strengthens the bond between the instrumental composition of the beginning and the drama that follows. 

The Overture starts with drum rolls and the music moves from pianissimo (very quiet) to fortissimo (very loud) in less than half a minute. A brief pause leads to a quiet, flowing melody presented by horns and bassoons. The previous fortissimo returns and then repeats the melody of the horn for a second time, but now in the woodwinds accompanied by decorative pizzicatti in harmonic chords of strings.

A sudden dramatic chord interrupts and begins the main part of the introduction. After another pizzicato, the inaugural music returns, followed by a light, ethereal melody of violins, which is developed by the entire orchestra. A string pizzicatti brings a second melody, played by clarinets and bassoons. A small climax leads to a short, later segment and a repetition of the two previous themes, before moving to a final vigorous escalation.