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Home First Posted: Feb 1, 2011
Feb 1, 2011

Buddy Greene at Carnegie Hall/Harmonica

Rossini's William Tell Overature is toward the end of this embed.

Gioachino Rossini

The William Tell Overture is the instrumental introduction to the opera Guillaume Tell (in English, William Tell) by Gioachino Rossini. There has been repeated use (and sometimes parody) of this overture in popular media, most famously for being the theme music for the Lone Ranger radio and television shows. It is quoted by Dmitri Shostakovich in his Symphony No. 15. William Tell was composed 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. Franz Liszt prepared a piano transcription of the overture in 1838 (S.552) and there are also transcriptions by other composers (e.g. a version by Louis Gottschalk for piano duet).

The overture is in four parts, each following the next without pause:
  • The Prelude, a slow passage scored for five solo cellos accompanied by double basses.
  • The Storm, a dynamic section played by the full orchestra.
  • The Ranz des Vaches, or call to the dairy cows, featuring the cor anglais and flute; this segment is often used in animated cartoons to signify daybreak.
  • The Finale, an ultra-dynamic "cavalry charge" galop heralded by trumpets and played by the full orchestra. This segment is often used in popular media to denote galloping horses, and it became the Lone Ranger theme music. It has also used in Lark cigarette commercials and a Jeno Pizza Roll commercial incorporating all three cultural icons.