Kids' Commute Rossini Overture Week: William Tell

Apr 17, 2015

Learn about Gioachino Rossini and his Overtures!

This week on Kids’ Commute, we are exploring the overtures of Gioachino Rossini! 

The Italian composer wrote some famous operas, sacred music, chamber music, songs, and other instrumental and piano pieces. Now just to remind you, the an overture is the first thing you hear before an opera, for instance. It gives you the musical sense of what you’re about to hear, often containing little themes from the music in the main opera. 


In today’s episode, we’re going to learn about the “William Tell” overture. This is probably Rossini’s most famous opera, and it is also the last one that he wrote. You may have heard it before, as it is the music used in “The Lone Ranger” TV show that popular when your parents were growing up. 

The opera tell the story of William Tell, a very old folk hero in Switzerland. When a new mayor moves into the town where William Tell lives, he puts up a statue of himself and requires everyone to bow down to it. Well, William Tell refuses to bow down to the statute. So, the angry mayor punishes him by making him shoot an apple off the head of his son with a bow and arrow from a long distance. William Tell is an excellent shot, and splits the apple in two, without harming his son.

The music we associate with William Tell is “The March of the Swiss Soldiers” part of the overture.

Do you think you could shoot an apple off someone's head with an arrow?

Music piece for today:
“William Tell - Overture” by The Berlin Philharmonic

Here's the opening scene of "The Lone Ranger," which uses the "William Tell" overture as it's theme music:

Listen to the Kids’ Commute live on Classical IPR every weekday morning at 7:40am or listen to the archived episode at the top of the post.