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Invitation to the Dance. Op. 65

Carl Maria von Weber

The "Invitation to the Dance," the most brilliant example of dance music yet written, was composed by Weber in 1819, and dedicated to his wife, Caroline. It opens with a slow introduction, the "Invitation," repeated by various groups of instruments, and leading to the main section of the work, a waltz theme of a most fascinating character. The second theme, graceful and languishing in style, follows, and after skilful development is followed by an episode and a new theme. This, too, is fully developed, and leads to the third part, constructed upon phrases from the previous theme. A vivacious Coda is followed, after a pause, by the slow movement of the introduction repeated. It is related in the biography of Weber, by his son, that while the composer was playing the piano version of the "Invitation" to his wife, he gave her the following program of the piece:

"Bars 1-5, first appearance of the dances. Bars 5-9, the lady’s evasive reply. Bars 9-13, his pressing invitation. Bars 13-16, her consent. Bars 17-19, he begins conversation. Bars 19-21, her reply. Bars 21-23, speaks with greater warmth. Bars 23-25, the sympathetic agreement. Bars 25-27, addresses her with regard to the dance. Bars 27-29, her answer. Bars 29-31, they take their places. Bars 31-35, waiting for the commencement of the dance. The conclusion of the dance, his thanks, her reply, and their retirement."

Fresh, graceful, and spirited, the work is the very apotheosis of the dance. Riehl says of it: "It marks the transition of modern dance music. The waltz had been previously a sort of mere animated minuet, but Weber threw a fiery allegro into the dance. The world ran faster, why should not people dance faster? ... Weber was the founder of the dance music expression of deep feeling, and of a school of which Richard Strauss afterwards was an acolyte."

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See also:
Middle Ages Music
Renaissance Music
Baroque Era Music
Classical Era Music
Romantic Era Music
Nationalist Era Music
Turn of Century Music

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