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Academic festival overture in c minor, op.80
Original Title
Akademische Fest-Ouverture in C Moll, op.80
Brahms, Johannes
Terzer, Armin
Year Arranged
Original Instrumentation
Full orchestra
Year Published
Catalogue Number
Sheet Music Format
A4, score (31) & parts (4,4,4,5,4,5,4,5=35)
Additional Equipment
Other Instruments
Structure / Movements
One continuous movement, divided into 9 sections. Allegro L'istesso tempo, un poco maestoso Animato Maestoso
Treble, bass
¢, C, 2/4
Key signatures
2b, 1#, 2#
Horn 1: g - d#3 Horn 2: E# - g2 Horn 3: d - c3 Horn 4: C# - f2 Horn 5: d - c#3 (opt. e3) Horn 6: D - f#2 Horn 7: d - b2 Horn 8: D - e2
Creator's Comments
The Academic festival overture is one of two contrasting concert overtures (the other one being the Tragic overture op.81), written in 1880 in honour of the University of Breslau that had awarded Brahms an honorary doctorate in 1879. It essentially is a potpourri of student drinking songs, arranged in typical intricate "Brahmsian" counterpoint, making what used to be simple songs into a finely orchestrated and very effective overture. This arrangement is one of the best examples of my arranging practice: - original key - division of parts into orchestral sections (1-3-2-4, mirrored in horns 5-8, and further sections if employed) - use of the full range (C - e3) - individual, varied parts (there are no exclusive melody or bass parts) - few note omissions, mostly of effects in the string parts - horizontal writing for each part - varied combining of sections (1-4, 5-8, odd parts, even parts, etc.) - smart inclusion of rests - emphasis on colour changes through instrumentation rather than the use of hand stopping or mutes - preparation of extreme register - carefully detailed articulation - incorporation of orchestral excerpts, mainly in the original part - visual and aural orchestration - adaptation of percussive instruments - no part doubling (except for big symphonic repertoire) One of the main aims of my arranging is to have only solo parts, with each part looking interesting on paper, and as a result being interesting to play. Academic festival overture is one of the greatest successes in that regard, not least because of Brahms' genius counterpoint writing, which makes re-orchestration a very satisfying task. The inclusion of all members of the ensemble in both melodic and harmonic development means that not necessarily every single note of every part has to be played - some passages may be "faked" through, as long as the next entry is on the spot again. This is much more difficult in conventional writing, where entire passages hang on the quality of a single player. Also, very high passages are easily transposed an octave down (anyway it's an arrangement), even though much attention was given to keeping the octave relations within and between the orchestral sections intact. Overall this is an excellent arrangement of a great piece, sure to impress audiences and colleagues alike - and most of that is due to Johannes Brahms.
Performance Notes