1836: Wagner Polonia Overture

THURSDAY, July 23, 2020

Polonia Overture: 1836

The year of composition is not clear.

Polonia (WWV 39) is a concert overture written by Richard Wagner. Wagner completed Polonia in 1836, although it has been suggested that it may have been drafted as early as 1832. I’m putting the year down as 1936 because we are interested in the finished work, and it’s impossible to know how much Wagner’s ideas changed from the beginning to the end of the creative process.

A dreamlike evening…

Wagner said:

Polonia resulted from a “dreamlike evening” in Leipzig when he heard uninterrupted Polish songs, including the Polish national anthem “Poland Is Not Yet Lost” at a celebration of May 3rd Constitution Day in 1832.

Completion…

He composed the work later in Berlin in May–July 1836, and gave its first performance in Königsberg the following winter. The work, which is in sonata form, contains references to Polish folksong.

 

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