Prelude to Act III from "Lohengrin" (arr. McAlister)

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Richard Wagner

Richard Wagner (arr. Clark McAlister and Alfred Reed)

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General Info

Year: 1848 / 2006
Duration: c. 3:00
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Orchestra
Publisher: Ludwig Masters, through Southern Music
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $60.00


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None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

In this brief and bright prelude there is not a summary of Act III, nor even a hint of impending disaster and tragedy, simply only a joyous preliminary to the procession that escorts Lohengrin and Elsa to the bridal chamber. It starts off with immense spirit, the music leaping straight up, hesitating for a moment on a cross accent, then, after a crash of cymbals, sliding off into more regular rhythm. The melody in the bass that follows, and the more tender strains of the middle portion, are familiar to everyone nowadays -- in fact, so familiar that we are likely to overlook the intense originality of the whole thing.

- Program Note by transcriber

Lohengrin is a Romantic opera in three acts composed and written by Richard Wagner, first performed in 1850. The story of the eponymous character is taken from medieval German romance, notably the Parzival of Wolfram von Eschenbach and its sequel, Lohengrin, written by a different author, itself inspired by the epic of Garin le Loherain. It is part of the Knight of the Swan tradition.

- Program Notes from Wikipedia

Lohengrin was first produced at Weimar in 1850, under the direction of Franz Liszt. The legend of the Holy Grail was the inspiration for the story of the opera. Lohengrin, keeper of the Holy Grail, appears as a knight in silver armor to defend Elsa of Brabant, unjustly accused of killing her brother, Godfrey, heir to the Duchy of Brabant. Victorious in combat with Telramund, Elsa's accuser, Lohengrin marries Elsa, after having extracted from her the promise that she will never inquire his name nor descent. When she, unfortunately, breaks her promise, Lohengrin publicly reveals his identity as Keeper of the Holy Grail and announces that he is compelled to leave the earth since his identity is known. As he is about to leave in a boat drawn by a swan, Telramund's fervent supplication breaks the sorceress' spell and Godfrey appears in his original form. As Lohengrin glides away, Elsa falls, unconscious, in her brother's arms.

The present work is the instrumental introduction to the third act, which is followed by the festal music for the wedding of Elsa and Lohengrin. The introduction is neither traditional nor conventional, but is the free development of two strongly contrasting themes, with an interlude on a third theme.

The second theme, a period consisting of a phrase of four measures, twice repeated, rising a third each time, is an exceedingly impressive one. It is of this period that Berlioz wrote: "Nothing comparable to this can perhaps be found in all music for grandiose vigor, force and brilliancy; launched forth by the brass instruments in unison, this theme turns the strong beats (Db, F, Ab in band) at the beginning of the three phrases into as many cannon shots which make the listener's breast quake."

- Program Note from Program Notes for Band


State Ratings

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Works for Winds by This Composer