Coriolan Overture
Ludwig van Beethoven


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4th of Beethoven's 20 entries.

Based on the story of Roman leader Gaius Marcius Coriolanus by Heinrich Joseph von Collin, rather than the Shakespeare play, Beethoven wrote this spirited overture in 1807. Concerned about giving too much of the plot away in the overture by summing up the entire play in one movement, Beethoven stresses the over-arching moods in the story, rather than attempting to capture the narrative. He was not quite so wise in his overture to his opera, Fidelio: after a number of attempts, he packed the overture with all the most exciting musical themes, rendering the opera itself becomes almost redundant!

George Frederick Watts's Study For Coriolanus.