Mendelssohn composed “ Ruy Blas” in 1839 for a performance in Leipzig of Victor Hugo’s play (1838) of the same name. The work calls for four horns and three trombones giving it the largest orchestral forces of Mendelssohn's concert overtures.

Mendelssohn wrote the overture and had the parts copied out in only six days, just in time for rehearsals and the first performance on the following day. As with many Mendelssohn compositions, “ Ruy Blas” has come down to us in more than one version.

The new Barenreiter Urtext edition presents the first version based on the autograph score and the later London version back to back. The posthumous version, which until now has been used for all recordings and performances, was not sanctioned or authorized by Mendelssohn and no source or reference to the version is known; it is therefore not included in Barenreiter's new critical edition.

- Urtext edition on the basis of all available sources
- Presentation of 2 versions in score and parts