It is something of an irony that the last work by a composer generally acknowledged as the creator of Romantic German opera should be an English-language opera. Yet, although Weber did indeed write Oberon for London's Covent Garden, and even painstakingly learned English so that he would be equal to the task, he infused the music with those same qualities of "German-ness" which marked his earlier landmark work, Der Freischütz (1821).
The Overture begins, in an introduction, with the sounding of Oberon's magic horn, to which some quiet answers are given. After a hushed fanfare, the strings dart on gossamer wings until a double fortissimo chord ushers in the Overture's main section. Built on themes from the opera, it begins with a fiery subject, moves to a lyric idea taken from the tenor aria, "From Boyhood Trained," and is completed by a joyously expansive melody taken from the soprano scena, "Ocean! Thou Mighty Monster."
- Orrin Howard served for many years as Director of Publications and Archives for the Los Angeles Philharmonic; he continues to contribute to the Philharmonic program book.