Monday, February 18, 2013

La Gazza Ladra Overture - Or is It the Thieving Magpie Overture

On March 29th, the Anchorage Civic Orchestra's winter concert will open with Gioachino Rossini's overture to his 1817 opera, La Gazza Ladra.  It is one of the composer's greatest orchestral works.  Opening with a slow, yet brilliant march, it features percussion, especially the snare drum that opens the piece with three drum rolls.

The march gives way to a delightful, almost spritely allegro in triple time that features a couple of Rossini's signature long, dramatically building crescendos from incredibly soft to absolutely, stunningly loud.

Rehearsing the overture has been a lot of fun so far, as the ensemble seems thrilled by the way the music seems to drive itself, without the conductor having to be too obtrusive.  They can almost play it by themselves already.

Here is Gustavo Dudamel, directing the Los Angeles Philharmonic in this masterpiece:


Aussie Cielo Blu said...

One of my favorite pieces as a kid. When I was in Italy a bunch of young men performed an a cappella version of it during a ferry crossing. Almost cured my seasickness...

Philip Munger said...

Aussie Cielo Blu,

That would be a joy to hear - and see. In the credits of the Beatles' movie "Help!" they sing "The Barber of Seville" Overture a capella.