The Coriolan Overture (German: Ouvertüre Coriolan, Op. 62) is a composition written by Ludwig van Beethoven in 1807 to Heinrich Joseph von Collin's 1804 tragedy.
The structure and themes of the overture follow the play very generally. The main C minor theme represents Coriolan's resolve and war-like tendencies (he is about to invade Rome), and the tender E-flat major theme represents the pleadings of his mother to desist. Coriolan eventually gives in to tenderness, but since he cannot turn back having led an army of his former enemies to Rome's gates, he kills himself. It was premiered in March of 1807 at a private concert of the home of Prince Franz Joseph von Lobkowitz. The Symphony No. 4 in B flat and the Piano Concerto No. 4 in G were premiered in that same concert.
Two of the most highly regarded recordings are of Wilhelm Furtwängler conducting the Berliner Philharmoniker (1943) and Fritz Reiner conducting the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1959. Sir Roger Norrington has created a notable period performance version with his recording of the overture with the London Classical Players.
Other notable recordings include those by Herbert von Karajan with the Berlin Philharmonic, Karl Böhm with the Vienna Philharmonic, Carlos Kleiber conducting the Bavarian State Orchestra and Bruno Walter conducting the Columbia Symphony. The work was a staple of Arturo Toscanini's repertoire, and six recordings under Toscanini's baton are extant as well as one recording of rehearsal excerpts.
- Joseph Kerman/Alan Tyson, "Ludwig van Beethoven", Grove Music Online, ed. L. Macy (Accessed August 21, 2007), (subscription access)
- ^ Joseph Kerman/Alan Tyson, Grove online
- ^ Steinberg, Michael. "The Symphony: a listeners guide". p. 19-24. Oxford University Press, 1995.