Movement 1: Larghetto affettuoso
Movement 2: Allegro passionato
Movement 3: Tempo di Marcia
Movement 4: Più mosso - Presto giojoso
The lady sits in her tower: she gazes sadly into the distance. Her knight has been for years in the Holy Land: shall she ever see him again? Battles have been fought; but no news of him who is so dear to her. In vain have been all her prayers. A fearful vision rises to her mind—her knight is lying on the battlefield, deserted and alone; his heart’s blood is ebbing fast away. Could she but be by his side, could she but die with him! She falls exhausted and senseless. But hark! What is that distant sound? What glimmers in the sunlight from the wood? What are those forms approaching? Knights and squires with the cross of the Crusades, banners waving, acclamations of the people; and there!—it is he! She sinks into his arms. Love is triumphant. Happiness without end. The very woods and waves sing the song of love; a thousand voices proclaim its victory.
Weber neither wrote down nor prefaced the score with these words. But, loosely, they mirror something of the music’s incident.
Structurally, the work falls into four movements, played without a break—a slow introduction, a brilliant Allegro passionato, (an Adagio link), a skirling woodwind march, (a brisk transition), and a Presto giojoso 6/8 finale. Pianistically, the march is famous for just one solo entry—a blazing octave glissando into the fortissimo tutti, timed and placed to dramatic perfection within a context otherwise inconsequential. The whooping glissandi of the finale are as electrifying.
from notes by Ates Orga © 1995