Overture Music Recordings

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
1812 Overture, Op. 49 Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky Orchestra Romantic
Academic Festival Overture, Op. 80 Johannes Brahms Orchestra Romantic
'Canto popolare' from In the South, Op. 50 (piano arr.) Edward Elgar Piano Romantic
Carnival Overture, Op. 92 Antonín Dvořák Orchestra Late 19th century
Concert Overture no. 2 in C minor Alfred Hollins Organ Romantic
Coriolan Overture, Op. 62 Ludwig van Beethoven Orchestra Romantic
Coriolan Overture, Op. 62 Ludwig van Beethoven Orchestra Romantic
Coriolan Overture, Op. 62 Ludwig van Beethoven Orchestra Romantic
Don Giovanni, K. 527 - Overture Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Orchestra Classical
Egmont Overture Op. 84 Ludwig van Beethoven Orchestra Romantic
Grande ouverture du 'roi Lear', H 53 Hector Berlioz Orchestra Romantic
In Nature's Realm, Op. 91 Antonín Dvořák Orchestra Late 19th century
In the South, Op.50 Edward Elgar Orchestra Early 20th Century
King Stephen, Op. 117 Ludwig van Beethoven Orchestra Romantic
Le corsaire Overture, H. 101 Hector Berlioz Orchestra Romantic
Leonore Overture no. 1, Op. 138 Ludwig van Beethoven Orchestra Romantic
Leonore Overture no. 3, Op. 72b Ludwig van Beethoven Orchestra Romantic
Nameday Overture, Op. 115 Ludwig van Beethoven Orchestra Romantic
Othello, Op. 93 Antonín Dvořák Orchestra Late 19th century
Ouverture in D major, G. 60 Georg Gerson Orchestra Romantic