Rienzi Overture

From Wind Repertory Project
Richard Wagner

Richard Wagner (arr. MC Meyrelles)

General Info

Year: 1842 / 1892
Duration: c. 12:45
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Orchestra
Publisher: Carl Fischer
Cost: Score and Parts – Out of print.

For availability information, see Discussion tab, above.


Condensed Score
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet Solo-I-II
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Saxophone
E-flat Alto Saxophone
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Bass Saxophone
E-flat Soprano Cornet
B-flat Cornet Solo-I-II-III
B-flat Trumpet I-II
E-flat Horn or Alto I-II-III-IV
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Tenor Horn I-II
Trombone I-II-III
String Bass
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Snare Drum
  • Triangle


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

During his residence in Riga -- a period of alternating hope and disappointment -- Wagner sketched the Opera Rienzi, deliberately building it on such a stupendous scale that it could only be offered to some royal theater. He had read Bulwer Lytton's Rienzi, The Last of the Barons, and "was carried away by this picture of great political and historical event." Wagner wrote as follows in explanation of the beginning of the work: "Grand opera, with its scenic and musical display, its sensationalism and massive effects, loomed large before my eyes: the aim of my artistic ambition was not merely to imitate it, but with reckless extravagance, to outdo it in every particular." He carried out his intentions so well that the premiere performance at Dresden in 1842 lasted six hours.

The overture is based upon thematic material from the opera, beginning with the long-drawn trumpet call, followed by Rienzi's prayer. This is followed by the allegro chorus of the first act finale and the battle hymn. The second act finale is then introduced, followed by the development section, which is based chiefly on the battle hymn. A brief recapitulation of the first part occurs and a brilliant coda bring the overture to its conclusion. With a wealth of colorful music, the overture has always remained popular -- principally because of one noble melody, Rienzi's prayer for the people.

- Program Note by Everett Kisinger from Program Notes for Band and Band Music Notes

Commercial Discography

State Ratings

  • Arkansas: V
  • Louisiana: V
  • Maryland: VI
  • Mississippi: VI-A
  • North Carolina: VI
  • Tennessee: VI
  • Texas: V. Complete


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

Works for Winds by This Composer


  • Wagner, R.; Meyrelles, M. (1892). Rienzi [score]. Carl Fischer: [s.l.].
  • Smith, Norman and Albert Stoutamire (1979). Band Music Notes. Rev. ed. San Diego: Kjos West, pp. 240
  • Smith, Norman E. (2002). Program Notes for Band. Chicago: GIA Publications, pp. 621