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Franz Schubert

Franz Schubert

Overture to Rosamunde (Zauberharfe)

Thanks to Schubert, Helmine von Chézy finds herself in the company of Ibsen and Goethe. All three wrote plays whose titles are better known today for the music that once accompanied their productions than for the drama itself. There the kinship ends. While Goethe’s Egmont and Ibsen’s Peer Gynt are undoubtedly important theatrical works, von Chézy’s Rosamunde (1823) was a shambles.

Von Chézy was a colorful figure. She had been a free-spirited journalist whose outspoken views got her into serious scrapes with the censors. (Most of Europe was a police state at this time.) When Schubert met her, she was in Vienna trying her hand at being a serious writer. She must have been quite a talker, since, despite her manifest lack of talent or experience, she managed to get her plays produced at the prestigious Theater an der Wien. She also had some taste, since she got Schubert to write the music. Sadly, her show closed after two performances — only Schubert’s music is performed any longer.

The Rosamunde score published after Schubert’s death included this overture. Bizarrely, it is not the overture that accompanied von Chézy’s play. He had written it some years earlier for another play at Theater an der Wien: Georg Ernst von Hofmann’s melodrama Die Zauberharfe (The Magic Harp) of 1820. It wound up published as Rosamunde thanks to the intervention of publishers, who inserted it into the incidental music.

Svend-Einar Brown ©2007

Erich Wolfgang Korngold

Erich Wolfgang Korngold

Symphonic Serenade

Intermission
Paul Hindemith

Paul Hindemith

Kleine Kammermusik for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Horn and Bassoon

About This Program

Approximate length 1:52