Relayed from the National Museum of Wales
TWO days sufficed for the composition of this
Overture to Victor Hugo 's play, Ruy Bias.
Mendelssohn disliked the drama, and put off writing the music until the last moment.
The Overture is in ' First Movement' form, consisting of the statement of two Main Tunes (sometimes also, as here, of subsidiary ones), their Development and Recapitulation. The opening consists of the alternation of two phrases, one consisting of slow, solemn chords on Woodwind and Brass, and the other of soft, rapid, detached notes on Strings; this latter is an anticipation of the First Main Tune (very quick), which presently arrives, starting in Strings and Flute. The volume of tone gradually increases to a climax. This leads to a recurrence of the solemn Woodwind and Brass phrase, which precedes the Second Main Tune. This starts with a soft series of detached notes in Strings. It is repeated and continued, Clarinets, Bassoons and 'Cellos doubling the tune as a sonorous sustained unison melody.
A few other tunes appear, but these are the outstanding features.
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