Méhul: Le Chant du départ includes arrangements of the overtures to six of Méhul's successful operas. At the end of the 18th century, it was common practice to arrange extracts from fashionable operas for small ensembles, often wind octets, to allow them to be performed in a range of contexts. Several revolutionary pieces are also included, such as Le Chant du Départ, a war song for the Revolutionary French armies.
Étienne-Nicolas Méhul (1763-1817), the first true French Romantic composer, wrote many patriotic works that were frequently played throughout the celebrations of the Revolution. Though Méhul composed many symphonic works that were comparable to the innovations of his contemporaries Haydn and Beethoven, it was in the theatre that the composer really made his mark.
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