Classical 91.5

Victor Hugo

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We don’t often think of Felix Mendelssohn as a composer of stage works, but from (age 10) 1820 to 1847 he actually composed a number of musical settings for dramatic works, one of which is the Overture to Ruy Blas that we will hear in the 9/15 broadcast of the San Francisco Symphony. The five-act historical drama by Victor Hugo is long, dark and convoluted, but the administrators for the Leipzig Theatrical Pension Fund were committed to presenting the work for a benefit concert and they asked Mendelssohn to write an Overture and vocal piece for the event.