Overture to The Magic Flute, K. 620
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
Composed in 1791.
Premiered on September 30, 1791 in Vienna, conducted by the composer. The Overture to The Magic Flute is one of the supreme orchestral works of the 18th century. Rich in sonority, concise in construction, profligate in melodic invention and masterful in harmonic surety, it balances the seemingly polar opposites of the opera — profundity and comedy — with surpassing ease and conviction. The slow introduction opens with the triple chords associated with the solemn ceremonies of the priests, the Overture’s only thematic borrowing from the opera. The Allegro is built on a tune of opera buffa jocularity treated, most remarkably, as a fugue. The complementary theme, is characterized by its sensuous ascending chromatic scales. The balance of the Overture follows the traditional sonata-allegro form, with the triple chords of the priests reiterated to mark the beginning of the development section.
The Magic Flute, wrote Eric Blom, “contains elements of greater idealistic aspiration than any other stage work by Mozart.... It is a gem of many facets — and one of inestimable value.”
An arrangement for saxophone choir was initially created by Nigel Wood for The National Saxophone Choir of Great Britain. This was recorded on their CD 'Sax Circus' in 2010.
The published arrangement has been modified for a slightly smaller ensemble - the soprillo saxophone part has been omitted and the sopranino, bass, contrabass saxophones and timpani parts are optional.