Rossini, Gioacchino (1792 – 1868)

A precocious composer of operas, he made his full debut at the age of eighteen (with La cambiale di matrimonio). His best-known operas include the Italian comedies Il barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville), L’italiana in Algeri (The Italian Girl in Algiers) and La Cenerentola (Cinderella). He also wrote a string of serious operas in Italian, including works such as TancrediOtello and Semiramide. The semi-serious opera La Gazza Ladra (The Thieving Magpie) has one of Rossini’s most celebrated overtures. After moving to Paris in 1824, he eventually started to write in French. His last opera, the epic Guillaume Tell (William Tell), replete with its iconic overture, helped usher in grand opera in France.

After composing thirty-nine significant operas in nineteen years Rossini retired from the theatre in 1829. Later, he was affected by both physical and mental illnesses and for decades wrote relatively little apart from a setting of the Stabat Mater. A return to Paris from Italy in 1855 was followed by better health and the provision of exclusive musical and culinary soirées. During these, he presented salon music in the form of songs, piano pieces and small chamber ensembles that he called “Sins of Old Age”. He considered the last of these “Sins” to be the unusually scored Petite messe solennelle (Little solemn mass) that he wrote in 1863.

Rossini had been the most popular opera composer in history, and he was one of the most renowned public figures of his time. A rapid and prolific composer, he was quoted as joking, “Give me the laundress’ bill and I will even set that to music.” A tendency for inspired, song-like melodies is evident throughout his scores, earning him the nickname “The Italian Mozart.” Use of an exciting build up of orchestral sound over a repeated phrase—commonly known as a “Rossini crescendo” – also prompted the nickname “Signor Crescendo”. (source: Wikipedia)


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Overture to the Barber of Seville
BB BE 960701 – $55.00
7′ 30″ – advanced

arranged by Michael Allen for (423.11) – B flat Piccolo Trumpet, E flat Trumpet, B flat Trumpet (doubling on Flugelhorn), Flugelhorn, 2 Horns, 3 Trombones, Euphonium, Tuba


Overture to Semiramide
BB BE 001204 – $60.00
8′ 10″ – advanced

Semiramide is an opera in two acts by Gioachino Rossini. The libretto by Gaetano Rossi is based on Voltaire’s tragedy Semiramis, which in turn was based on the legend of Semiramis of Babylon. The opera was first performed at La Fenice in Venice on February 3, 1823.

arranged by Michael Allen for (423.11 p) – E flat Trumpet, B flat Trumpet (doubling piccolo), B flat Trumpet (doubling on flugelhorn), Flugelhorn, 2 Horns, 2 Tenor Trombones, Bass Trombone, Euphonium, Tuba, Timpani (with optional Glockenspiel)