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Overture, part 2

A Minute with Miles
Mary Noble Ours
/
SC Public Radio

The earliest form of overture was the two-section French overture invented in the mid-1600s by John Baptist Lully. In the late 1600s however, the Italian composer Alessandro Scarlatti developed a new overture form and over the next 100 years this Italian form became the most popular type of opera overture.

The form, known as the symphonia, consisted of three sections, or movements, in the arrangement fast/slow/fast. The symphonia itself though developed in two different directions. On the one hand, opera composers started expanding the 1st movement and dropping the other two, so that by the late 1700s the opera overture had become a one-movement form. On the other hand, some composers began expanding the whole 3 movement structure and even adding a movement; and the offspring of this expansion was none other than the Symphony.

This has been A Minute with Miles - a production of South Carolina public radio made possible by the JM Smith Corporation.

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Miles Hoffman is the founder and violist of the American Chamber Players, with whom he regularly tours the United States, and the Virginia I. Norman Distinguished Visiting Professor of Chamber Music at the Schwob School of Music, in Columbus, Georgia. He has appeared as viola soloist with orchestras across the country, and his solo performances on YouTube have received well over 700,000 views.