Wagner: Tannhäuser Overture

Tannhäuser (full title Tannhäuser und der Sängerkrieg auf Wartburg / Tannhäuser and the Singers' Contest at Wartburg Castle) is an 1845 opera in three acts, music and text by Richard Wagner, based on two German legends. That of Tannhäuser the legendary medieval German Minnesänger and poet, and that of the Wartburg Song Contest. The story centers on the struggle between sacred and profane love, and redemption through love, a theme running through most of Wagner's mature work. The substantial Overture commences with the theme of the 'Pilgrim's Chorus' from Act 1 scene 3, and also includes elements of the 'Venusberg' music from Act 1, Scene 1. The overture is frequently performed as a separate item in orchestral concerts, the first such performance having been given by Felix Mendelssohn conducting the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra in February 1846. Wagner later gave the opinion that perhaps it would be better to cut the overture at opera performances to the Pilgrim's Chorus alone - "the remainder - in the fortunate event of its being understood - is, as a prelude to the drama, too much; in the opposite event, too little."

\ VIDEO: Wagner: Tannhäuser Overture - Thielemann / Münchner Philharmoniker

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