Though Meyerbeer wrote much that is intrinsically more dull and vulgar than the overture to Rienzi, he never combined such serious efforts with a technique so like that of a military bandmaster.
The curtain had not yet risen and the overture was being played.
In the orchestral ballad, La Belle Dame sans Merci, he touches the note of weird pathos, and in the nautical overture Britannia his sense of humour stands revealed.
An instance of this characteristic function, specially remarkable because the composer has taken exceptional measures for it, is Beethoven's overture to Fidelio.
The important small published works are Eine Faust Overture (1839-1840; rewritten, 1855); the Siegfried Idylle (an exquisite serenade for small orchestra on themes from the finale of Siegfried, written as a surprise for Frau Wagner in 1870); the Kaisermarsch (1871), the Huldigungsmarsch (1864) for military band (the scoring of the concert-version finished by Raff); Fiinf Gedichte (1862), a set of songs containing two studies for Tristan; and the early quasi-oratorio scene for male-voice chorus and full orchestra, Das Liebesmahl der Apostel (1843).
Just then the last chords of the overture were heard and the conductor tapped with his stick.
The date of this famous letter was 1767, but after Alceste Gluck was still able to use material from earlier work; and the overture to Armide is adapted from that of Telemacco, written in the year of Bach's death (1750).