Oberon, Weber's last Opera, was written for performance at Covent Garden (1826). Its brilliant and romantic Overture was actually written in London, where the composer died a couple of months later. It conveys no suggestion of its being, as it was, the work of a man who sadly realized that life was ending.
In the slow Introduction (quite short) we hear (1) The Magic Horn of Oberon, the King of the Fairies. (2) A light-footed passage (Flutes and Clarinets), suggesting the movements of his subjects. (3) A March passage, and then a loud chord which ends the Introduction and ushers in the main body of the Overture.
The pace now changes, and at a very rapid speed we hear (4) the First Main Tune of the Overture (quick and fiery). It is to the First Violins, with chords by all the instruments punctuating it. It is taken from a quartet in the Opera (Over the Dark Blue Waters).
(5) Soon comes another call upon Oberon's Horn, followed by the light Fairy Music, and then the Second Main Tune (on the Clarinet) - the graceful Mermaid's Song of the Opera.
(6) Immediately after this comes a beautiful Violin tune, taken from the well-known song in the Opera, Ocean, Thou Mighty Monster.
All this constitutes the chief material of the Overture, and, these tunes identified, the rest of its course will be clear to the listener. The whole piece is full of fairy romance and of the open-air spirit.
Ten days could hardly be called an unduly long time to take over writing a Symphony.
Yet in that short space of time Mozart composed this, one of the last of his Symphonies, which is generally considered among the very finest and most original of all his compositions.
One thing noticeable, all through this Symphony, is that Mozart has used in it no Drums, nor any of the heavier Brass instruments.
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