program notes by composition > L > Light Cavalry Overture

Light Cavalry Overture

Franz von Suppe/arr. Henry Fillmore

Franz von Suppé (1819-1895) was an Austrian composer of light operas. This one is set in the 18th century amid the court intrigues of a Baron and his Hungarian countess lover, whose ballet company is referred to as the 'light cavalry'. While the operetta is obscure, its overture is one of von Suppé's best known works. Interestingly, there are no horseborne troops in the story, but there is a group of overweight dancers who are often referred to jokingly as the "light cavalry." The overture, apart from its catchy rhythms, is striking for its frequent changes of style. The opening fanfare is nothing less than majestic (Maestoso). It soon gives way to a fast transition (Allegro) to the first "cavalry" music (Allegretto brillante). A short cadenza for clarinet leads to a darkly expressive "Hungarian" passage, and, finally, the rousing return of lively cavalry music (Tempo primo).

Last updated on July 18, 2013 by Palatine Concert Band