In thinking about overtures, we can recognize three composers who were masters of the form; Beethoven, Berlioz and Rossini. Beethoven was the first great composer and possibly the greatest overture symphonist with 11.
Four are about his Opera Fidelio, four introduce plays, one is to a ballet and two are concert overtures. Berlioz produced nine exciting overtures of which six are to operas and three are concert overtures.
Giochino Rossini (1792-1868) also completed numerous overtures all opening operas. By age 21 he was the darling of the Italian crowd. After composing 38 operas by age 38 he retired from opera production and for the rest of his life composed very little music of any kind. His final work was William Tell. His body is entombed in the Basilica of Santa Croce in Florence which this writer visited 10 years ago. The Opera Barber of Seville of 1816 is Rossini’s greatest and most popular work. The Overture to Barber of Seville will be performed by the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra conducted by Linus Lerner. The work is highly dramatic with sharp accents invading a tranquil first subject in a brisk four-time. Eventually a later theme in a fast two-time takes over and leads to a Rossini ending.
Also on this program will be soloist Carol Wincenc performing Carl Nielsen’s 1926 Flute Concerto in two movements. Miss Wincenc is an eminent soloist having performed concertos with the Chicago, San Francisco, London, Concertgebouw of Amsterdam and Warsaw Symphony Orchestras. She has also been involved at Aspen, Mostly Mozart, Marlboro and Menlo Festivals. Her education includes Oberlin Conservatory, Manhattan School of Music B.M. and The Julliard School M.M. where she is on the faculty. She has commissioned works by Del Tredici, Adler, Gorecki and Rochberg. Ms. Wincenc was a Grammy Award nominee and recorded the Flute Concerto by Rouse with Eschenback and the Houston Symphony.
Concluding the program will be the blockbuster, best known, most popular of all symphonies, Beethoven’s Fifth with more about it in a later article. This concert will be performed at SaddleBrooke on Saturday, November 19 at DesertView Performing Arts Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. and on Sunday, November 20 in Oro Valley at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church at 3:00 p.m.
Go to www.sasomusic.org for tickets and additional details.