was written by Rossini as part of his opera William Tell which is based on the story of the legendary 14th
century archer and set in the Swiss Alps. It was premiered in 1829 and known
by its French title Guillaume Tell
but was not a major success, with only the overture later gaining major
attention. This was the 39th
and final opera by Rossini, after which he concentrated on composing vocal
and sacred music and cantatas.
popular piece of music, which is about 12 minutes long, was written in four
parts that flow into each other without a break. These parts are:
(Dawn) - an impending storm is depicted by cellos and double basses.
2. Storm - the whole orchestra portrays the
full force of the weather and lessens as it abates
3. Ranz de
Vaches (Call to the Cows) – a pastorale of the calm after the storm
(March of the Swiss Soldiers) – a lively galop which features heralding
trumpets and celebrates the Swiss army beating the Austrians in battle and
freeing their homeland.
eye of other composers, there was a piano transcription written by Franz
Liszt in 1838 which performed regularly in his concert appearances and
Louis Gottschalk also transcribed the piece as a piano and violin duet as
well as another version for two and four pianos. Dmitri Shostakovich also quotes the
overture in his Symphony No. 15. Many other transcriptions have been
made and it has become a staple piece for many brass bands and ensembles.
Ranz de Vaches (Call to the Cows) was used in the Disney
animation The Old Mill. The overture has also featured
heavily in many other animations including Mickey Mouse’s The Band Concert, Bugs Bunny Rides Again
and Bugs Bunny’s Overture to
Disaster, Daffy Duck’s Yankee
Doodle Daffy and an episode of The
Flintstones. The Finale has been used for TV shows such as The Adventures of William Tell in
the UK but
is probably best known worldwide as the theme for the popular American TV
and radio character The Lone Ranger.
It is regularly used in advertising campaigns and
sporting events and has appeared in movies such as A Clockwork Orange.
It appears on countless classical recordings and in
popular music it has been used by the guitarist Randy Rhoads as a solo with
Quiet Riot on their song “Laughing Gas” and with Ozzy Osbourne
on “RR” which appears on the 2011 issue of his Blizzard of Ozz. Spike Jones and His City Slickers
recorded an adapted version of it in 1948, when it reached No. 6 on the
chart. It as also been covered
by the country artist Glen Campbell and released as the B-side of his No, 1
hit “Southern Nights” in 1977 and released as a single in the
UK by Mike Oldfield also in 1977.
Capital 4376 (S93526) (US 45)