Franz von Suppé, Leichte Kavallerie (Light Cavalry)

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Franz von Suppé

Franz von Suppé (Francesco Suppé Demelli) (April 18, 1819 – May 21, 1895 (aged 76)) was a composer and conductor of the Romantic period notable for his four dozen operettas.

Life and education

Suppé was born in 1819 in Split, Dalmatia, descended from a Belgian family that probably emigrated there in the 18th century. A distant relative of Gaetano Donizetti, his original name was Francesco Ezechiele Ermenegildo Cavaliere Suppé Demelli. He simplified and Germanized his name when in Vienna, and changed "cavaliere" to "von". Outside Germanic circles his name may appear on programs as Francesco Suppé-Demelli.

He spent his childhood in Zadar, where he had his first music lessons and began to compose at an early age. As a teenager in Cremona, Suppé studied flute and harmony. His first extant composition is a Roman Catholic Mass, which premiered at a Franciscan church in Zadar in 1832. He moved to Padua to study law, a field of study not chosen by him, but continued to study music. Suppé was also a singer, making his debut in the role of Dulcamara in Donizetti's L'Elisir d'Amore at the Sopron Theater in 1842.

He was invited to Vienna by Franz Pokorny, the director of the Theater in der Josefstadt. In Vienna, after studying with Ignaz von Seyfried and Simon Sechter, he conducted in the theater, without pay at first, but with the opportunity to present his own operas there. Eventually, Suppé wrote music for over a hundred productions at the Theater in der Josefstadt as well as the Carltheater in Leopoldstadt, at the Theater an der Wien, and a theater at Baden. He also put on some landmark opera productions, such as the 1846 production of Meyerbeer's Les Huguenots with Jenny Lind. He died in Vienna in 1895.

Works

Two of Suppé's comic operas have been performed at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, Boccaccio and Donna Juanita, but they failed to become repertoire works. He composed about 30 operettas and 180 farces, ballets, and other stage works. Though the bulk of Suppé's operas have nearly sunken to oblivion, the overtures, particularly Leichte Kavallerie (Light Cavalry) and Dichter und Bauer (Poet & Peasant), have survived and some of them have been used in all sorts of soundtracks for movies, cartoons, advertisements, and so on, in addition to being frequently played at symphonic "pops" concerts. Some of Suppé's operas are still regularly performed in Europe; Peter Branscombe, writing in the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, characterizes Suppé's song Das ist mein Österreich as "Austria's second national song".

Suppé retained links with his native Dalmatia, occasionally visiting Split, Zadar, and Šibenik. Some of his works are linked with Dalmatia, in particular his operetta The Mariner's Return, the action of which takes place in Hvar. After retiring from conducting, Suppé continued to write operas, but shifted his focus to sacred music. He also wrote a Requiem for theater director Franz Pokorny, three Masses, songs, symphonies, and concert overtures.
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Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franz_von_Supp%C3%A9


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Columbia Symphony - Light Cavalry Overture 1916

Note from the video owner:

Most likely conducted by Charles A. Prince. I've included Felix Weingartner in the video as he conducted this orchestra in 1912. This is most likely conducted by Charles A. Prince. Recorded months after the very first symphonic recording by Columbia and two years after Columbia cylinders were discontinued, these recordings are surprisingly good aside from the surface noise inherent in Columbia records at the time.




 

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