William Tell - overture - composed by Gioachino Rossini [HD]<< Previous classical music pieceNext classical music piece >>
The William Tell Overture is the overture to the opera William Tell (original French title Guillaume Tell), whose music was composed by Gioachino Rossini. William Tell premiered in 1829 and was the last of Rossini's 39 operas, after which he went into semi-retirement, although he continued to compose cantatas, sacred music and secular vocal music. The overture is in four parts, each following without pause.
There has been repeated use (and sometimes parody) of parts of this overture in both classical music and popular media, most famously as the theme music for The Lone Ranger in radio and television shows. It was also used as the theme music for the British television series, The Adventures of William Tell.
Franz Liszt prepared a piano transcription of the overture in 1838 (S.552) which became a staple of his concert repertoire. There are also transcriptions by other composers, including versions by Louis Gottschalk for two and four pianos and a duet for piano and violin.
The overture is scored for: a piccolo, a flute, two oboes (first or second oboe doubles a cor anglais), two clarinets in A, two bassoons, four French horns in G and E, two trumpets in E, three trombones, timpani, triangle, bass drum and cymbals, and strings.
Described by David Wondrich as a "frequent target of plunder by brass bands in the years during which they dominated the American musical landscape", the overture features prominently in Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse cartoon, The Band Concert. It has also been used in cartoons parodying classical music (e.g. Bugs Bunny's Overtures to Disaster in which the overture's finale is performed by Daffy Duck and Porky Pig) or Westerns (e.g. Bugs Bunny Rides Again). The finale has also been sung with especially written lyrics by Daffy Duck in Yankee Doodle Daffy and by a quartet of singing policemen (as "Happy Anniversary") in the Flintstones episode, "The Hot Piano".
The text above is taken from Wikipedia, under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.
Audio source: Youtube Audio Library
Painting source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Francesco_Hayez_045.jpg
Painting license: public domain
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