Marble Surface

Giacomo Meyerbeer

Robert le Diable, Cavatina

Arr. CPE Strauss

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This is my arrangement for small orchestra of the hit tune from Meyerbeer’s opera. I am in the process of trying to reconstruct, as far as possible, the first concert of Johann Strauss II in 1844 by arranging the pieces he is known to have played for an orchestra of about the size he had.

Why he chose this piece I do not know. It was written for two voices and an enormous orchestra. Much of the accompaniment is scored for two harps and cor anglais. He definitely didn’t have the harps and the cor anglais is unlikely too. Making it work for small orchestra is not easy, in my case not helped by working from an ancient full score of the opera with some very vague stave marks.

I assume that he wrote it as a showpiece for himself, with the vocal line played on the violin. I was unable to do this as the Noteperformer solo violin is not good enough, in my opinion. I’ve used a clarinet, which I probably would have done anyway if I hadn’t had Strauss in mind.

On the night it was number two on the program and was evidently politely received. Everyone was waiting for the first waltz though.