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The Faust Overture
is a concert overture composed by German composer Richard Wagner
Wilhelm Richard Wagner was a German composer, conductor, theatre director, philosopher, music theorist, poet, essayist and writer primarily known for his operas...
. Wagner originally composed it from 1839-40, intending it to be the first movement of a Faust Symphony
based on the play Faust
Faust: The First Part of the Tragedy is the first part of Goethe's Faust. It was first published in 1808.-Synopsis:The first part of Faust is not divided into acts, but is structured as a sequence of scenes in a variety of settings...
by German playwright Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a German writer, pictorial artist, biologist, theoretical physicist, and polymath. He is considered the supreme genius of modern German literature. His works span the fields of poetry, drama, prose, philosophy, and science. His Faust has been called the greatest long...
. Realizing that he would not finish the planned symphony
A symphony is an extended musical composition in Western classical music, scored almost always for orchestra. A symphony usually contains at least one movement or episode composed according to the sonata principle...
, Wagner revised the piece from 1843-44, incorporating ideas from the other planned movements, and creating instead a single-movement concert overture. He made a final revision in 1855.