Composed by Liszt as an orchestral melodrama to accompany a play written by Friedrich Halm, A Hundred Years Ago was first performed in Weimar in November 1859 for the festivities celebrating Schiller’s 100th birthday. It was favourably received by both audiences and critics but was never published. An autograph score survives in Paris as well as originals still held in Weimar and Budapest. The music is mostly based on popular songs of the time, including references to Beethoven’s Ode to Joy and is an interesting collection of melodies and ideas, occupying a unique niche in all of Liszt’s output.
Der Rosenkavalier was an instant success with its Mozart-like farce and flurry of sweet and saucy waltzes. Abounding in melodic splendour and harmonic richness, orchestras had long enjoyed playing selections from the opera before a more established suite finally emerged, capturing the most celebrated and voluptuous moments, and first performed in 1944, over 30 years after its creation.
Hummel’s joyful overture, composed to celebrate Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo, interrupts its energetic chatter for a resounding burst of God Save the King.
Works and composers
The orchestra and Karabits played both with magnificent, full-blooded élan.