Music with Ease > Classical Music > Concert Guide: Romantic Era > Overture, "Calm Sea and a Prosperous Voyage". Op. 27. (Mendelssohn)
Overture, "Calm Sea and a Prosperous Voyage". Op. 27.
The overture, "Calm Sea and a Prosperous Voyage," was first performed in 1835, at a Leipzig Gewandhaus concert. It illustrates two short poems of Goethes, "The Calmness of the Sea" and "A Prosperous Voyage."
It is constructed in two sections, the first being an Adagio, and the second a Molto allegro vivace and Allegro maestoso. The Adagio opens with a phrase assigned to double basses only, and may be considered the motto of the overture, as it dominates it throughout. The calm of the sea is indicated by full harmonies in the strings, with delicate accompaniment by the wind instruments. A figure in the flute announces the change, and the voyage begins. It commences with a long prelude indicating the bustle on board and the rising of the sea. The first theme of this section is given out by the flute and wind instruments, with pizzicato string accompaniment. The second subject is of the same general character and leads to one of the most beautiful of the Mendelssohn melodies, assigned to the cello. The usual elaboration follows, and in the short Coda a stately passage for trumpets refers to the safe arrival and happy greetings to the voyagers.