Wagner - Overture to Tannhäuser
Herbert von Karajan, cond.
The overture to Tannhäuser, along with the Siegfried Idyll and a few others, is a selection by Wagner which has been given its own standing as a concert piece. Wagner completed the opera, inspired primarily by the poetry of Heine, between 1843 and 1845. The overture was written last—it is framed by the majestic Pilgrim’s Chorus (“Beglückt darf nun dich, o Heimat, ich schauen”) which was to become one of Wagner’s most memorable melodies.
Antônio Carlos Gomes - Overture to Il Guarany
Royal Philharmonic Orch., E. A. Diemecke, cond.
If Villa-Lobos was the major composer of modern Brazil, Gomes (1836-1896) was perhaps the leading musician of the nation’s imperial past. His exoticist opera Il Guarany was a great success at La Scala in 1870, earning comparisons with Verdi and a decoration from the King of Italy. Gomes composed eight operas in total, but none of his other efforts enjoyed the acclaim of Il Guarany.
Gomes was faithful to the Brazilian monarchy; when the republic was established in 1889, Gomes left again for Italy, returning to Brazil only in the final months of his life.