Antoni Wit

Weber: Overtures

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While Der Freischütz, Oberon, and Euryanthe are Carl Maria von Weber's best-known and most frequently recorded operas, the rest of his output for the theater is much less familiar to modern audiences, except for several of his highly tuneful overtures, which have remained popular over the years as concert staples. This 2008 Naxos release features 10 such pieces; six celebrated opera overtures are balanced with the concert works Der Beherrscher der Geister and the Jubel-Ouvertüre, as well as with selections from the incidental music for the plays Preciosa and Turandot (the latter's overture and march employ the catchy "Air chinois," which Paul Hindemith used for the second movement of his Symphonic Metamorphosis of Themes of Carl Maria von Weber). These pieces are consistently lively, dramatic, and colorful, and listeners will find in them an agreeable mix of Classical and early Romantic styles. Antoni Wit and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra deliver this program with high energy and zest, though it's fair to say that they sometimes play with sharp attacks, most pronounced in the timpani part; but overall, this crisp playing is invigorating and easy enough to adjust to. Naxos provides rich, reverberant sound that gives the orchestra a pleasant acoustical aura, but does not obscure any details.

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