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Editor’s Note: The twenty-two-year-old Richard Wagner composed this dramatic overture as part of the incidental music for a play about the explorer, written by the composer’s friend, Guido Theodore Apel. Wagner also wrote a chorus and orchestral epilogue for the play, but these have been lost. At its premier the music “astonished everyone and was tumultuously applauded,”  but the judgment of history has been less kind to the work. Nevertheless, it is an enjoyable eight-minute piece with a heroic flavor.

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