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Pique Dame Overture

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Franz von Suppé

Franz von Suppé (tr. Singleton)

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Subtitle: The Queen of Spades

General Info

Year: 1862 / 2001
Duration: c. 7:00
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Masters Music Publications
Cost: Score and Parts - $65.00   |   Score Only - $12 .00


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None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Pique Dame (The Queen of Spades) is an operetta in two acts by Franz von Suppé to a German-language libretto very loosely based on Alexander Pushkin's short story. The author of the libretto is unknown. Pique Dame was a revised version of Suppé's 1862 operetta Die Kartenschlägerin ("The Fortune Teller") and premiered in June 1864 at the Thalia Theater in Graz. The work is primarily known today for its overture which remains a popular concert piece.

According to Robert Letellier in his 2013 introduction to Franz von Suppé: Overtures and Preludes, the enduring popularity the work's overture as a concert piece for orchestras stems from its "varied and vivid melodies", beautiful flute solo, and themes which "leap" between the higher and lower instruments of the orchestra. The original orchestral score for the overture has been adapted for piano four hands by Theodor Herbert (1822–1891) and for solo piano by Clemens Schultze-Biesantz (1876–1935). It was also adapted for the mechanical organ by the Aeolian Company who described the piece in their 1919 catalog:

At the beginning there is heard a mysterious theme, several times repeated, and this theme then turns out to be simply the accompaniment for a lyric melody which is now voiced above it and which proves to be an important musical factor in the overture, culminating in a big climax. After this a merry theme makes its appearance, its brisk, happy character supplying ideal contrast to the foregoing music. Another fine lyric theme and a gay melody are added, and a rushing brilliant coda brings the overture to a happy conclusion.

The Pique Dame overture was often heard in cinemas during the era of the silent film when deluxe screenings were preceded by an overture or other concert piece played by a live orchestra. The film music director and composer Hugo Riesenfeld listed it as one of the ten most frequently performed pieces of music in movie theaters of the era.

- Program Note by Wikipedia

Commercial Discography


State Ratings

  • North Carolina: V
  • Ohio: OMEA High School Band A


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Works for Winds by This Composer