Ouverture Tragica - J. Brahms

Johannes Brahms
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page one of Ouverture Tragica - J. Brahms

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L’Ouverture tragica, fu fatta conoscere nel dicembre 1880 all'Università di Breslavia dallo stesso autore che l'aveva composta come segno di ringraziamento per il titolo di dottore honoris causa, conferitogli da quegli universitari.

A proposito di questa pagina sinfonica, diversi studiosi si sono sbizzarriti nell'attribuire al compositore intenzioni programmatiche: Hanslick lo disse ispirato dall'Amleto di Shakespeare, altri dal Faust di Goethe e addirittura assicurarono che l'Ouverture tragica conteneva elementi tematici dell'unica opera teatrale, appunto faustiana, cominciata e mai portata a termine da Brahms.

Questi, al contrario, sostenne di non aver mai pensato ad alcun testo letterario come soggetto specifico di questa composizione, particolarmente ricca di dinamismo espressivo.

Musicalmente l'Ouverture è tesa e incisiva sin dall'attacco iniziale e il tema principale, dapprima esitante tra tonalità minore e maggiore, si riversa vigoroso e pulsante su tutta l'orchestra.

Si ode quindi un secondo tema in fa maggiore, su cui si innesta un leggero ritmo sincopato dei legni e degli, archi, al quale fa seguito un motivo di tromboni e tuba.

Una straordinaria energia ritmica scuote l'intera orchestra, prima che il brano si concluda con qualche accenno di speranza, soffocato dall'improvvisa e tagliente "stretta finale".

The tragic Overture was made known in December 1880 to the University of Wrocław by the same author who had composed it as a sign of gratitude for the title of honoris causa doctor conferred by those university students.

Concerning this symphonic page, several scholars have come to terms with the composer's intentions of programmatic intent: Hanslick told him inspired by the Shakespeare's Hamlet, others by Goethe's Faust, and even assured that the tragic Overture contained thematic elements of the single opera theatrical, precisely Fuchsia, which began and never ended by Brahms.

On the contrary, he argued that he had never thought of any literary text as a specific subject of this composition, particularly rich in expressive dynamism.

Musically, the Overture is tense and sharpened since the initial attack, and the main theme, hesitating between minor and major shades, is pouring vigorous and pulsating over the entire orchestra.

Then a second theme in the upper part is heard, on which a slight syncopated rhythm of the woods and bows is engraved, followed by a pattern of trumpets and tubes.

An extraordinary rhythmic energy shakes the whole orchestra before the song concludes with some hint of hope, choked by the sudden and sharp "narrow finish".

Score ID
Johannes Brahms
Year of composition
Moderate (Grades 4-6)
14 minutes
Concert band / wind band
Classical music

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