Cory Workmen's Silver Band
Conducted by J. G. Dobbing
The second act of Tannhauser consists chiefly of a song contest in the great hall at the Wartburg, a hall which may still be soon today very much as it was then. There the minstrel Knights competed in song before the Landgrave and Elizabeth, with an audience of assembled nobles and their ladies. It is to the entry of those guests that this stirring march is played in Wagner's opera.
Cherubini, born in Florence in 1760, lived to the great age of eighty-two. In the important development which music underwent in those long years, he had himself a large share; the church and theatre music of France in particular, to which he devoted most of his mature work, owe him more than it would be easy to compute. For the most part grave and serious, his music displays a breadth and vigour not unlike the great Beethoven's; it is all sincere and dignified, even in its more light-hearted moods.
In its French form this opera is known as Les Deux Journaes (The Two Days), and the story tells how the Water Carrier, who is the hero, within two days extracts his patron from the wrath of the powerful Cardinal Mazarin.
In accordance with the tradition of the age, the Overture begins with a slow and rather pompous introduction and then there is a lively section with two main tunes. Both can be easily recognized as they appear.