William Tell Overture

William Tell Overture

The overture to the opera "William Tell", especially its high-energy finale, is a very familiar work composed by Gioachino Rossini. There has been repeated use (and sometimes parody) of this overture in the popular media, most famously for being the theme music for the "Lone Ranger" radio and television shows, and it is quoted by Dmitri Shostakovich in his Symphony No. 15. "William Tell" 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 "William Tell" Overture is often associated with certain competitive sports, such as horse racing.

The overture is written in four parts, each segueing into the next:
*Prelude - a slow passage with low-pitch instruments such as cello and bass
*Storm - dynamic section played by full orchestra
*Ranz des Vaches (call to the dairy cows) - featuring the English horn (this music is often used in animated cartoons to signify daybreak)
*Finale - ultra-dynamic "cavalry charge" galop heralded by trumpets and played by full orchestra. ("This" is the Lone Ranger theme)

Franz Liszt prepared a piano transcription of the overture in 1838 (S.552).


Finale MIDI located [http://www.midicenter.com/midi/midi_files/classical/William_Tell_Overture.mid here]

Notable cover versions

*Spike Jones and his City Slickers released a parody version of the Overture in 1948. It peaked at Number 6 on the charts and has almost invariably been included in "greatest hits" compilations of Jones' work.
*Mike Oldfield released his cover of the Overture in 1977.
*The song served as the B-side to Glen Campbell's 1977 No. 1 hit, "Southern Nights."
*Wendy Carlos recorded a Moog Synthesizer version of the finale for the Stanley Kubrick film version of "A Clockwork Orange".
*Victor Borge used the cavalry-charge phrase in a routine of his, in which he played the sequence of notes downward instead of upward--then got a laugh from the audience when he said "Ohhhh!" and turned the sheet music "right side up."
*Joey DeMaio, the bassist for the power metal band Manowar, recorded a solo bass version of the Overture for the debut Manowar album "Battle Hymns" under the title of William's Tale in 1982.
*Comedian Anita Renfroe uses part of the overture to back her "Momsense" segment. [http://www.anitarenfroe.com/video_clips.htm]
*The gallop section is also utilized for most of "The Presidents," a song about the Presidents of the United States, sung by the Animaniacs.
*The gallop section is also the "Happy Anniversary" song, from an episode of "The Flintstones".
*The song was featured prominently on the U.S. television game show "The Price Is Right"'s now-retired pricing game "Hurdles" as the hurdler raced across the gameboard. The song was also used as the clock music for "Race Game" in the 1985 syndicated version.
*A more electronic cover "Tell" was made by Kyle Ward and was used in the game In The Groove
*A jazzed-up version of the Overture was used as the theme song for the Canadian children's program "You Can't Do That on Television" from 1981 to 1989.
*Brave Combo adapted their unique take on the Overture for use as the opening theme song for the PBS television series "Click and Clack's As the Wrench Turns".cite news |work=Denton Record-Chronicle |title=Click & Clack add oompah; Brave Combo provides musical nuts and bolts for animated TV series |first=Lucinda |last=Breeding |url=http://www.dentonrc.com/sharedcontent/dws/drc/localnews/stories/DRC_Brave_Combo_0706.2984932a.html |date=2008-07-07 |accessdate=2008-07-24]
*In the later seasons of "Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends", the overture can be heard notably in "Busy Going Backwards"
*A quarter-mile strip of asphalt in Lancaster California was grooved to play the William Tell Overture at perfect pitch for motorists driving over it at 55 mph with Honda Civics as part of an ad campaign for Honda. [cite news |work=Daily News |title=Musical road trip gets mixed reviews |first=Karen|last=Maeshiro|url=http://www.dailynews.com/news/ci_10513632 |date=09/20/2008]


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