Sunday, October 2, 2016

Gioachino Rossini - William Tell Overture

Some music becomes so closely associated with something that it loses its own identity and becomes essentially inseparable from it.  The best example of this that I can think of is Gioachino Rossini's overture to the 1829 opera "William Tell".  This was the theme song for the TV show "The Lone Ranger" and many people can't listen to it without the words "Hi yo, Silver - away!" whispering in the back of their heads.  Indeed, when I was young I was told (by a University professor, who laughed as he said it) that the definition of an Intellectual was someone who didn't think of the Lone Ranger when he heard this.

But we usually only hear a small portion of the Overture, which is basically a mini-Symphony of four parts.  The one that we know is the last, "The March of the Swiss Soldiers".  But listen all the way through and you'll recognize more of the overture than just this.

Clayton Moore played the Lone Ranger for 3 of its 5 seasons.  It was ABC's first hit show and became so iconic that Moore is the only actor who has both his name and the name of his character on his star on the walk of fame.

He had an interesting life.  Born in 1914 in Chicago, a circus acrobat at 8 years old, he got into stunt man acting and from that into his iconic TV role.  Serving in the Army Air Corps in the War he leant his celebrity stature to the cause of victory by leading a war bonds campaign.  One of his films was "Target Invisible" about a fictional bomber squadron over Tokyo, and was used during the bond campaign.

He has an autobiography, I Was That Masked Man.  And so you can see that while I may be intellectual, I'm not an Intellectual.

1 comment:

libertyman said...

About halfway through this excerpt there is also some some familiar music that seemed to be used in cartoons, after someone got clobbered. I was listening to this last week on the drive back from Maine, and remarked on the other adaptation of Rossini's music.

Of course we think of the Lone Ranger when we here this -- what heroic music. I'll bet Rossini would be making some money doing movie themes if he were alive now.

Great class today!