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Overture Fantasia, "Romeo and Juliet"

Pytor Il'yich Tchaikovsky
(1840-93)



The Overture Fantasia, "Romeo and Juliet," one of Tchaikovsky’s earlier works, was written in 1870 and is dedicated to his friend Balakirev, the Russian composer, who suggested the subject to him. When his friend made the suggestion, he also accompanied it with a program which the composer followed, and which will serve for an analysis of the work. It was to be in sonata form and the scheme as follows: "First, an introduction of a religious character, carried out by a chorale, representation of Friar Laurence, followed by an Allegro in B minor (Balakirev suggesting most of the tonalities), which is to depict the enmity between the Montagues and Capsulets. There is to follow the love of Romeo and Juliet (second subject, the melodic passage assigned to English horn), succeeded by the elaboration of both subjects. The so-called ‘develop,’ that is to say, the putting together of the various theme in various forms, passes over to what is called in technical language the ‘recapitulation,’ in which the first theme, Allegro, appears in its original form, and the love theme (D flat major) now appears in D major, the whole ending with the death of the lovers."





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