Overture Music Recordings and Sheet Music

Overtures (known in German as 'Vorspiel') are pieces originally meant to function as an instrumental introduction to an opera. They have their roots in the first operas, which opened with brief fanfares as a way of calling the attention of the audience. A musical form called 'ouverture' can be found in early French ballet, featuring a slow introduction followed by a lively section. This form would eventually make its way to the works of Johann Sebastian Bach. Also, another distinct form called 'overture' arose in Italy at the end of the 17th century, consisting of three sections in a fast-slow-fast sequence. Both forms would later influence the symphony. By the end of the 18th century, overtures were already beginning to be performed as separate pieces in concerts. This gave birth to the concert overture, a standalone form of music, usually based on a literary theme. This was the vehicle chosen by many post-Beethovenian composers to avoid the symphonic form. The concert overture was eventually replaced by the symphonic poem.

Title Composer Instrument Period Ratings
3 Ouvertures, Op.126 Stephen Heller Piano Romantic
6 Beliebte Ouverturen Franz Von Suppé Piano Romantic
6 Favourite Opera Overtures Johann Christian Bach Organ Classical
6 Overtures for Clavier, TWV 32:5-10 Georg Philipp Telemann Piano Baroque
6 Overtures, Op.1 Thomas Alexander Erskine Chamber group Classical
8 Overtures in 8 parts Thomas Augustine Arne Orchestra Baroque
12 Characteristic Pieces, Op.156 Josef Gabriel Rheinberger Organ Romantic
1812 Overture, Op.49 Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky Orchestra Romantic
Academic Festival Overture, Op. 80 Johannes Brahms Orchestra Romantic
Academische Festouvertüre, Op.63 Felix Draeseke Orchestra Romantic
Adversity Robert Edward Bridson Orchestra 20th Century
Akademische Ouverture, Op.195 Josef Gabriel Rheinberger Orchestra Romantic
Arsilda, regina di Ponto, RV 700 Antonio Vivaldi Voice(s) and Orchestra Baroque
Beatrice, Op.25 Émile Bernard Orchestra Romantic
Belfagor Ottorino Respighi Orchestra Romantic
Carnaval, Op.45 Aleksandr Glazunov Orchestra Romantic
Carnival Overture, Op. 92 Antonín Dvořák Orchestra Late 19th century
Champagner Waldemar von Baussnern Orchestra Romantic
Christoph Columbus, WWV 37 Richard Wagner Orchestra Late 19th century
Cockaigne Overture, Op.40 Edward Elgar Orchestra Romantic