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Orpheus in the Underworld Overture (arr Odom)

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Jacques Offenbach

Jacques Offenbach (arr. Odom)


General Info

Year: 1858 / 1984
Duration: c. 10:18
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Neil A. Kjos
Cost: Score and Parts - $65.00   |   Score Only - $6.00


Instrumentation

Full Score
C Piccolo/Flute IV
Flute I-II-III
Oboe I-II
English Horn
Bassoon I-II
Eb Clarinet
Bb Solo Soprano Clarinet I-II
Bb Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
Bb Bass Clarinet
Eb Contra Alto Clarinet
Eb Alto Saxophone I-II
Bb Tenor Saxophone
Eb Baritone Saxophone
Cornets I-II-III-IV
Bb Trumpet I-II
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III-IV
Euphonium (Bass Clef & Treble Clef)
Tuba
String Bass
Timpani
Percussion I-II, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bells
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Snare Drum
  • Tambourine
  • Temple Blocks
  • Triangle
  • Vibraphone
  • Wood Block

Harp (optional)
Cello (optional)


Errata

None discovered thus far.


Program Notes

From the opera bouffe, this famed overture begins with a bristling fanfare followed by a tender love song and then an infernal passage as Orpheus journeys to Hades to bring back Eurydice. The Finale, after an elaborate waltz, is the ever-popular "can-can."

-Program Note by publisher


The music of this overture is well known throughout world. The plot of the opera, not so well known, concerns the mythological musician Orpheus and his wife, Eurydice. Their domestic life leaves much to be desired, and Orpheus seeks happiness with Chloe, the beautiful shepherdess. His wife is in love with the shepherd, Aristeus, who is Pluto in disguise. On one occasion Eurydice is gathering flowers in the meadow, and by some mischance Orpheus mistakes her for Chloe; his perfidy is discovered, and Eurydice flies to Hades with Aristeus. Orpheus is delighted to have disposed of her so easily, but Popular Opinion demands that he make some effort to recover his spouse. Therefore Orpheus accuses Pluto before Jupiter, and all the gods of Olympus decide to accompany Orpheus to investigate the charges.

Eurydice is hidden in a secret chamber and is guarded by a stupid lout called John Styx. Jupiter, disguised as a fly, enters the chamber and buys Eurydice’s love with the promise of freedom. Pluto is compelled to return her to Orpheus, who is to receive her only if he can reach the river without turning to look at his wife. But Jupiter is plotting to keep Eurydice himself, and he causes a blinding flash of lightning, which forces Orpheus to turn his head and look back. Thus Jupiter retains Eurydice in subjection as a Bacchante, and Orpheus returns happily to Chloe.

-Program Note by Program Notes for Band


Orpheus became Offenbach’s initial triumph as the result of a devastating review. At its premiere and immediately thereafter, it had all the appearances of a failure. Some disliked the fact that it satirized Olympian gods; other thought it to be a bore; still others were shocked by its immoral suggestions and the inclusion of a can-can after a minuet. As the opera was about to close, critic Jules Janin hurled a savage attack, stating that, “it is a profanation of holy and glorious antiquity, in a spirit of irreverence that borders on blasphemy.” Offenbach and his librettists made a heated reply in the journal Figaro, and a heated exchange between those who attacked it and those who were tolerant of it. Suddenly, the receipts at the box office mounted. People wanted to see this provocative show for themselves. The tunes from the opera were suddenly being heard everywhere. The opera began selling out for each performance, and continued to do so for more than 200 consecutive performances. The opera finally closed because the cast was exhausted. It could have continued for many more months.

- Program Note from Heritage Encyclopedia of Band Music


For Col. Arnald D. Gabriel

- Program Note from score


Commercial Discography

None discovered thus far.


Audio Links


State Ratings

  • Florida: V
  • Kansas: V
  • Louisiana: V
  • Minnesota: II
  • Virginia: V


Performances

To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Arkansas Winds Community Concert Band (Fayetteville) (Mike Ferguson, conductor) – 11 July 2016
  • Los Alamos (N.M.) Community Winds (Ted Vives, conductor) – 24 October 2015
  • Contra Costa Wind Symphony (Walnut Creek, Calif.) (Ben Loomer, conductor) - 8 March 2015
  • United States Navy Band (Brian O. Walden, conductor) - 10 February 2010


Works for Winds by this Composer

Adaptable Music

  • The Can-Can (Flex instrumentation) (arr. Thorp) (1858/2008)


All Wind Works


References