Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Concert Overture

Most of you know that an overture is music that precedes a play or opera or ballet.  In the Romantic era of music [which followed the Baroque and Classical eras] concert overtures were developed.  These were overtures that were stand alone pieces that were to be played by symphonies in a concert program. No opera would follow.

The concert overture "The Hebrides", also known as Fingal's Cave, was composed by Felix Mendelssohn in 1830. The piece was inspired by a cavern known as Fingal's Cave, an island in the Hebrides archipelago located off the west coast of Scotland.

As it is called an overture with a specific name, it is what is called a program piece.  Most music in all eras of the classical repertoire were not program pieces, but just music for music's sake with no specific meaning of the music involved. It was music to be loved for the beauty of the sound. Program pieces were developed to tell a story or a certain mood. For example, a piece I played recently, Vivaldi's Four Seasons were four concertos, each one of which represented a season of the year. As such, each concerto was to represent the mood of that season.

The Hebrides Overture [Fingal's cave] while it does not tell a story, it does depict certain moods for the listener.  This overture gives the feeling of being in a ship at sea and also depicting the beauty of Fingal's cave. The whole piece emotes the feeling of a sometimes rocky, but for the most part, peaceful solitude.

This is a beautiful overture, a wonderful concert piece that would be welcome to start any symphony concert. Felix Mendelssohn is another one of my favorite composers. What beautiful melodies and an awesome sound you hear from a symphony playing any of Mendelssohn's pieces. 

I think you will like this concert overture by the brilliant Felix Mendelssohn.

Mendelssohn: Hebrides Overture "Fingal's Cave":

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