Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Overture to La Forza del Destino

The Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra will present it's Season Opener on October 24th. One of the pieces performed will be Giuseppe Verdi's La Forza del Destino. This is the program note written by Adam Holmes, percussionist in the GDYO.

Overture to La Forza del Destino

Giuseppe Verdi

Born October 9, 1813 in Roncole, Italy

Died January 27, 1901 in Milan

After having already established himself as a renowned composer and writing his twenty-third opera, Un ballo in maschera (finished in early 1858), Verdi informed friends that he had ceased to be a composer. It would prove to be his longest compositional hiatus to date, lasting over two years; however, Verdi soon had a creative breakthrough. In 1860, he was offered a commission from the Imperial Theatre at St. Petersburg. The following year, Verdi wrote an opera based on the Spanish romantic melodrama Don Alvaro, o La Fuerza del sino.

The opera La Forza del Destino (The Force of Destiny) first premiered in 1862 opening with a short prelude, lasting approximately three minutes. After only moderate success, he decided to revise the prelude into a longer eight minute overture in 1869, which is the version that the GDYO performs this evening

The piece opens with a solemn three-note unison from the brass and low woodwinds. This is often called the “fate motif,” which foreshadows the tragic events to take place in the opera. A driving string theme quickly follows the fate motif, which is shortly joined by the winds and timpani. It later leads into a more lyrical melody taken from a prayer that is sung in the second act of the opera. Finally concluding with a powerful melody from the winds, La Forza del Destino’s overture sets the mood for one of Giuseppe Verdi’s masterpieces.

Scored for Flute, Piccolo, 2 Oboes, 2 Clarinets, 2 Bassoons, 4 French Horns, 2 Trumpets, 2 Trombones, Bass Trombone, Timpani, Percussion, Harp, and Strings

Adam Holmes, Percussion

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