Details page

Freischutz overture
Original Title
Der Freischütz, op.77 Ouverture
Weber, Carl Maria von
Terzer, Armin
Year Arranged
Original Instrumentation
Full orchestra
Year Published
Catalogue Number
Sheet Music Format
A4, Score (28) & parts (8x4=32)
Additional Equipment
Straight mutes
Other Instruments
Structure / Movements
One movement. Adagio Molto vivace
Treble, bass
C, ¢
Key signatures
1#, 2b
Horn 1: f# - d3 Horn 2: G - e2 Horn 3: c - b2 Horn 4: D - e2 Horn 5: d - c3 Horn 6: G - e2 Horn 7: d - b2 Horn 8: D - e2
Creator's Comments
A work that needs little introduction (especially to horn players), Der Freischutz is a landmark in German Romantic opera writing. An opera in three acts, it is based on German folk legend (libretto) and folk music. Its conveyance of strong national identity helped its great success following the premiere in 1821, despite the supernatural elements it contains. The overture can be found in most excerpt books, the horn section solo after the introduction that is.This excerpt was preserved in its original form, with the first two horn in F, horn 3 and 4 and C, and the rest of the ensemble playing the string accompaniment. The preceding introduction is where the two D's can be found (in horns 4 and 8), while the rest of the piece doesn't really go lower than G. Hence, if playing D is a problem, the opening may be played an octave higher (unison with horns 2 and 6). Horns 4 and 8 finish the introduction, presenting the solo cello line, with the rest of the group playing the underlying chords (muted). In the original key (C major / minor), the accidentals don't present too much a challenge (1#, 2b), and the same can be said for the range (there are two d3's in horn 1, but apart from that most of the work is in the standard range). What makes this work difficult is the syncopated rhythm that accompanies both both themes in the "molto vivace". In fact, the first theme is presented in syncopated form, while the accompanying lines are on the beat. A good knowledge of the overture helps, and the rest can be sorted with some metronome practice (this is a skill that can come in handy on many other occasions as well). The distribution of parts is in the standard two orchestral sections, with varying combinations (as usual in my arrangements). Due to the frequent 4-part harmony in this overture, horns 1-4 and 5-8 often alternate phrases, perhaps more so than in my other arrangements. There are however also instances of writing for 2-4-6-8, or in pairs. Several technically challenging passages were fragmented and given to all players successively, in order to create a visual and aural passing-on of the line. A much performed and loved concert overture, Der Freischutz is an impressive work when played on eight horns, as demonstrated on the Opera! recording of the Berlin Philharmonic Horns. This is a different arrangement, of the whole overture rather than a medley of popular themes from the opera, but sounds just as convincing, and is great fun to play.
Performance Notes