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Music with Ease > Classical Music > Concert Guide: Romantic Era > Overture to "Athalia". Op. 71. (Mendelssohn)


Overture to "Athalia". Op. 71.

Felix Mendelssohn
(1809-47)



The music to Racine’s drama "Athalia" consists of an overture, a march, and six vocal pieces. The choruses were originally composed for female voices with piano accompaniment, and were completed at Leipzig in 1843. In June of the following year, and during a visit to London, Mendelssohn wrote the overture and the march with the expectation that the drama would be brought out on the stage at Berlin; and after his return thither he completed the work by rearranging the choruses for four voices and scoring them for full orchestra.

The overture begins with a slow introductory movement, the melody of which is taken from a chorus for sopranos and altos near the end of the work. This is succeeded by a subject of broad, melodious character in the flutes and clarinets, accompanied by harps and strings, forming a sort of prelude to the development of the stirring incidents of the drama, illustrated by the full orchestra a triumphant climax.





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