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Gioachino Rossini:
The Story of William Tell


The William Tell Overture was written to open an opera by Gioachino Rossini. The opera is based on a legend about the Swiss hero William Tell. According to the legend, William Tell was an expert with a bow and arrow who shot an apple off his son's head. You can hear the political turmoil in William Tell's Switzerland in Rossini's music.

Music heard in this episode:
Rossini: William Tell Overture

Other shows about Gioachino Rossini:
About Gioachino Rossini
Overtures
Weather in Music

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About Gioachino Rossini
2/29/1792 - 11/13/1868
Born in Italy

Gioachino Rossini, the most popular opera composer of his day, was born in Pesaro, Italy. Like many composers, Rossini learned about music from his parents. Gioachino's father played the horn and the trumpet, and his mother was an opera singer. When Gioachino was a little boy, he learned to play the piano and to sing.

In Rossini's day, the opening of a new opera was as exciting as the opening of a new movie is for us. Rossini wrote his first opera when he was 18 years old. His most famous opera is The Barber of Seville. And after composing the opera William Tell in 1829, when he was 37, Rossini stopped writing operas.

After that, Rossini didn't compose again for years. When he was much older, he wrote some music for the church, and he wrote a lot of small pieces to entertain his friends. Because those pieces were not very serious, he jokingly referred to them as "Sins of Old Age."

See other composers born in Italy

 

This Week's Quiz:

1. Rossini was noted for writing music that describes a

thunderstorm

sunrise

sunset

snowstorm


2.William Tell came from which country?

Poland

Greece

Spain

Switzerland

England


3. The most famous part of the Overture to William Tell describes

horses running

cows mooing

a waterfall

a bow and arrow



 

Gioachino Rossini
William Tell Overture


Composed in 1829
Performed by Zagreb Festival Orchestra
Michael Halász, conductor

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