Overture 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.
TitleComposerInstrumentPeriodRatings
1812 Overture, Op.49 Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Orchestra Romantic
The Hebrides (Fingal's Cave), Op. 26 Felix Mendelssohn Orchestra Romantic
Overture to The marriage of Figaro, K. 492 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Orchestra Classical
Overture to Egmont, Op. 84 Ludwig van Beethoven Orchestra Romantic
Overture to The marriage of Figaro, K. 492, brass quintet arr. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Wind Ensemble Classical
Romeo and Juliet (Overture-Fantasia) Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Choir and Orchestra Romantic
Coriolan Overture, Op. 62 Ludwig van Beethoven Orchestra Romantic
Overture to The Magic Flute, K. 620 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Orchestra Classical
Carnival Overture, Op. 92 Antonín Dvořák Orchestra Late 19th century
Tragic Overture, Op. 81 Johannes Brahms Orchestra Romantic
Russian Easter Festival Overture, Op. 36 Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov Orchestra Late 19th century
In Nature's Realm, Op. 91 Antonín Dvořák Orchestra Late 19th century
Academic Festival Overture, Op. 80 Johannes Brahms Orchestra Romantic
Coriolan Overture, Op. 62 Ludwig van Beethoven Orchestra Romantic
Leonore Overture no. 1, Op. 138 Ludwig van Beethoven Orchestra Romantic
Roman Carnival Overture, Op. 9 Hector Berlioz Orchestra Romantic
Don Giovanni, K. 527 - Overture Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Orchestra Classical
Overture to The Magic Harp, D. 644 Franz Schubert Orchestra Romantic
Coriolan Overture, Op. 62 Ludwig van Beethoven Orchestra Romantic
Othello, Op. 93 Antonín Dvořák Orchestra Late 19th century
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