The Italian Symphony embodies Mendelssohn's impressions of his travels in the sunny South. The Finale was written in Rome. It perhaps represents the spirit of the Mid-Lent Carnival which Mendelssohn saw when he was there. At any rate, its chief tunes are all typical lively Italian dance-tunes.
The Prelude to Wagner's great music-drama epitomizes the transcendent love of Tristan and Isolde. In the closing scene, which for concert purposes follows immediately, Isolde sings her passionate song over the dead Tristan. Much of the music is a recollection of the great love duet in the Second Act.
In a Suite, From the Bavarian Highlands, for chorus and Orchestra, Elgar recalled one of his holidays, and the three dances now to be played are orchestral adaptations made by the composer himself. The music, dating from the earlier part of his career, very happily represents a side of his art which endeared him to a very large public.
The Overture to Coriolanus, listeners may remember, was not written for Shakespeare's tragedy, but it is possible that (as Wagner thought) the composer had in mind when writing it the scone in that play in which Coriolanus yields to the prayers of his wife and mother, and refuses to besiege his native city, from which he had been banished. For this, his allies condemned him to death. The two chief melodies employed may well stand, the first for the hero, and the gentler second for the women. At the end, the opening melody is heard in faltering, weakened tones, and we realize the tragedy of the hero's death.