Music with Ease > Classical Music > Concert Guide: Romantic Era > Overture, "Melusina". Op. 32. (Mendelssohn)
Overture, "Melusina". Op. 32.
The "Melusina" Overture was written in 1833 and first performed in 1834. It was announced upon the program as "Overture to Melusina, or, The Mermaid and the Knight," but its official title is "Overture to the Legend of the Lovely Melusina."
They story is a romantic one. Melusina buried her father in a mountain for ill treatment of her mother, whereupon she was made to undergo transformation into a serpent on the last day of each week as a penalty. After her union with count Raymond, she exacted a promise from him that he would not make any inquiry into her actions on that day. Incited by jealousy, however, he concealed himself and beheld her after her transformation. This ended the happiness of both. Melusina was compelled to abandon her husband and her human form and wander as a spirit until the day of doom, when she would be released.
The overture opens with a graceful theme which throughout the overture is the Melusina theme. After its development the second, or Raymond theme, is given out in the first violins and woodwinds and is then developed in full orchestra. The third theme is assigned to the first violins with cellos an octave lower. The close of the overture sets forth Raymonds fatal discovery of his wifes secret and the dissolution of his happiness, ending with the sad cries of Melusina at the moment of her husbands death.