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Review of the First Performance from The Times
Friday, September 2, 1870.


The other novelty, a new overture in E flat major – “Ouvertura di Ballo” – by Mr. Arthur S. Sullivan, was thoroughly successful, and well merited success. As the title implies, it is an overture built upon themes in dance rhythm. The first part is modelled on what both French and German (witness Schubert) style the “danse noble;” this leads to a lengthened movement in waltz-measure, and the whole ends with a peroration after the fashion of a gallop.

The plan looks simple enough, but Mr. Sullivan, in finding suitable and effective themes, has also known how to mould them into such shape as warrants the title of “overture” being applied to his work. Thus, the second movement, in waltz-measure, is developed in legitimate form with subject, counter subject, and episode, each a striking melody and easily followed through the progress of development. Slight in structure as it may seem, the “Ouvertura di Ballo” will add to its composer’s reputation.

The instrumentation for the orchestra is bright, ingenious, and full of fancy. Nothing could be more spirited than the performance, directed by the composer himself, and nothing heartier or more unanimous than the applause which ensued and was kept on until Mr. Sullivan was compelled to return to the platform and bow.

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