Can-Can alla Rossini! (Woodwind Trio)

For: Woodwind trio
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Can-Can alla Rossini! (Woodwind Trio)


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Year of composition
Difficult (Grades 7+)
2 minutes
Classical music
License details
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One of the first scores I submitted to the former SibeliusMusic was The Lone Ar-ranger!, back in 2001, shortly after I first got hold of Sibelius.

That piece has still been probably my most popular one, and has spawned numerous version and arrangements, from Accordion Orchestra to Wind Band, and Bassoon Quartet to a vocal version.

The problem with such a piece is that it’s hard to come up with something similar - but, of course still different.

In January 2007 I started looking at a possible alternative - the equally well-known Can-Can from Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld.

However, it remained in a virtual ’embryo’ state ever since, until I decided to complete it it. As before, it has spawned all manner of versions, but there hasn’t been one specifically for Woodwind Trio.

Writing for just three instruments is always difficult, and especially where you are trying to combine a number of different tunes, as well as keep a firm bass-line.

This version is for Flute / Clarinet in Bb and Bassoon, but the Flute part can be played equally on Oboe. There are just two instances where a lower note has been suggested for the oboe, but otherwise it should world just as well.

If there are any other combinations you might like, just let me know, and I can see whether a ’bespoke’ one is viable.

Whilst it’s essentially the same type of potpourri piece as The Lone-Ar-ranger, there are a number of different challenges, because of the harmonic construction, which meant it wasn’t as easy to achieve. Furthermore, while I have used the odd tune-snippet again, I have tried to come up with new material!

The title is deliberate! I have mingled the Rossini William Tell theme both with parts of the original Offenbach, as well as the other tunes used - as if the Rossini was trying to get in on the act! The ending nearly allows the Rossini finish to win over, but ultimately France wins over Italy!

It might not be as ’good’ as its predecessor - or it might even be ’better’. There have been many ’one-work’ composers throughout history, so if Can-Can alla Rossini! doesn’t make the grade, I won’t be too disappointed! It’ll be different, though.

Either way, it was a project that needed completing!

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