Stephen Gunzenhauser

Stephen Gunzenhauser: Overtures

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Product Type: CD

Artist: Stephen Gunzenhauser
Title: Overtures

Fidelio, a Singspiel, a German opera, with some spoken dialogue, is not necessarily convincing on the stage, in spite of the greatness of conception of the music. The overture to Egmont is programmatic, and some have suggested a reference to the Duke of Alva, the Spanish Governor of the province, in the opening sarabande rhythm and allusion to the rebel cause in the first subject of the following Allegro. The closing section brings the death of Egmont and his consequent moral victory. The overture and incidental music to August von Kotzebue's play The Ruins of Athens was written in 1811 for the opening of a new theatre in Pesth. The occasion was a patriotic one and Kotzebue's piece d'occasion showed the goddess Minerva regretting the ruins of Athens, from which art had departed, but cheered at seeing it's revival in Pesth under the enlightened rule of the Hapsburg emperor. The Overture, The Consecration of the House, was commissioned for the opening of the Josef Stadt Theater in 1822, under the management of Beethoven's friend Carl Friedrich Hensler. The plan was to use the music for The Ruins of Athens, written, after all, for the opening of a theatre, but in Pesth it had been designed as the second part of a double bill. A new overture was therefore needed and the music, written in Handelian style, with the traditional Baroque contrapuntal element, was handed to the musicians on the afternoon of the performance, leaving relatively little time for necessary rehearsal and correction.

1.1 Fidelio
1.2 Creatures of Prometheus
1.3 Coriolanus, Op. 62
1.4 Ruins of Athens
1.5 Egmont, Op. 84
1.6 Consecration of the House
1.7 Leonora No. 3

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