If you listen to this overture without knowing what it is, as I did the other morning when it came on the radio, you might think — especially at the end — that it’s a very British work.
Something about that big rendition of “God Save the Queen” at the very end, I’m guessing! But…that’s not “God Save the Queen”. Nor is it “My Country ‘Tis of Thee”. Sure, it’s the same melody, but in this case, the anthem is actually “Heil dir im Siegerkranz”, which was the national anthem of Prussia during the life of composer Carl Maria von Weber (1786-1826), who wrote this piece. It’s the “Jubilee Overture”, which Weber wrote for a festival in honor of the fiftieth anniversary of the ascension of King Frederick Augustus the First of Saxony. The European royal families were famously inter-related, so it seems somehow fitting that their inter-relations should extend to things like their anthems, no?