Romeo and Juliet Overture

Background Information Romeo and Juliet Overture is a concert overture by Tchaikovsky premiered in 1870.
Introduction The Introduction is in Andante non tanto quasi moderato, c time, and commences in f sharp minor. The Friar Laurence Theme is heard three times. The first time with the low clarinets and bassoons playing softly, the second with high woodwinds and pizzicato string accompaniment, and the third with the strings and high woodwinds playing boldly.
Exposition First Theme The Exposition features the the Feud Theme in Allegro guisto, c time, and b minor. An agitated, syncopated melody is played f by the cellos and answered by the piccolo. Cymbals crash against driving strings.
Exposition Bridge Theme The bridge is played suddenly in pp and the woodwinds, double basses, and horns present gentle, undulating figures setting the mood for the love theme.
Exposition Second Theme Group The Second Theme Group features the Love Theme in d flat major, c time, and is stated broadly by the English horn and muted violas. Juliet’s Theme is a gently pulsating melody played pp by muted violins. The Love Theme is then restated in high woodwinds and is extended.
Codetta The harp softly accompanies muted strings.
Development The Feud Theme begins softly in strings and woodwinds. The Friar Laurence Theme undergoes extensive treatment and the theme is reiterated by the horns. Agitation is heightened by abrupt changes in volume and tossing of melodic material between different instruments. The Friar Laurence is interrupted by the Feud Theme, marked by violent crashing cymbals and syncopation.
Recapitulation The Feud Theme returns in b minor and ff and is played by the full orchestra with cymbal crashes and rapidly descending string figures.
Second Theme Group Juliet’s Theme is played gently by the oboes and accompanied by the strings. The Love Theme returns in d major and is played broadly by the strings, f, accompanied by undulating horns. It is expanded, then interrupted, by the Feud Theme and Friar Laurence Theme. Crashing cymbals punctuate the music and a bold timpani roll ushers in the coda.
Coda The Love Theme is transformed into a funereal song of mourning in b major. Woodwinds and harp follow with a solemn, hymn-like passage. The Love Theme is repeated expansively in the strings. Solemn chords are sounded ff by full orchestra accompanied by an ominous timpani figure.

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