Saturday, June 3, 2017

Beethoven Chooses Overture Door #4

Ludwig Van Beethoven [1770 - 1827]
Beethoven's only opera was called Fidelio. This started out as a 3 Act opera and then scaled down to a 2 Act opera [with the second Act basically having two parts]. Beethoven struggled in finding the appropriate overture for this opera. He was never happy with his attempts.  He actually wrote four different overtures for this opera. His first attempt was actually called the Leonore #2. Then he came up with the Leonore #3 overture. The third overture  Beethoven worked on is actually known as the Leonore overture #1. Beethoven called his fourth attempt the Fidelio overture. 

My favorite, and I think most concert goers favorite of the four overtures is the Leonore #3. 


Beethoven finally decided to open the opera with the scaled down [in length] "Fidelio overture", the name of the opera. So, I like to say that Beethoven chose overture door #4 to open up his opera. Here is that overture that Beethoven chose.

L.V. Beethoven:  Overture to the opera Fidelio: 


While Beethoven opened the opera with his Fidelio overture something unique was done in between two parts of the second Act.  

When I first published this post, in October of 2015, I had incorrectly stated that it was Beethoven himself who chose to insert the Leonore Overture#3 between scenes in Act 2, making this a unique opera that actually had two overtures performed in it. But thanks to the kind Houston Symphony Orchestra's musical ambassador, Maestro Carlos Andres Botero
, I learned that it was not Beethoven, but Carlos Klaiber, who decided to insert the great Leonore Overture #3.

Maestro Carlos Andres Botero
This message sent to me from the HSO musical Ambassador Carlos Andres Botero:  "I will venture to comment only in the hope you might accept my suggestion in the light of the best intention: It was Carlos Klaiber who inserted Leonora 3 as an opener for the second act. It is a brilliant idea, and I'm sure Beethoven would have approved!"  

Thank you Maestro Botero for that correction.

The Leonore overture #3 is an intensely dramatic, full-scale symphonic movement that is played often in concert halls as a concert overture-a stand alone piece. Usually when you find such a dramatic piece of music it is in a minor key, but Beethoven brilliantly manages to deliver this dramatics in C Major.  It is a magnificent piece of music.

Please turn up the volume and put in full screen and watch as Maestro Leonard Bernstein opens up door #3 for this dramatic, exciting and beautiful concert overture from the great "master" Ludwig Van Beethoven.


L.V. Beethoven: Leonore Overture #3 in C Major:





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