The Potpourri was no mere medley; rather its two chosen themes were used as the basis for virtuoso variations. Spohr selected his two numbers from a then highly popular opera, Das unterbrochene Opferfest (‘The interrupted sacrificial feast’), by the Mannheim composer Peter von Winter (1754–1825), and produced what is in effect a three-movement concertino. The opening section, Larghetto, works with Myrha’s aria ‘Ich war, wenn ich erwachte’ (No 9 in the opera) and the prominent horns at the start have been lifted from the opera along with the theme. Next comes an Allegro on a vocal quartet (the opera’s No 8) ‘Kind, willst du ruhig schlafen’, then finally an Allegretto version of the same theme.
from notes by Keith Warsop © 2005
Chairman, Spohr Society of Great Britain