Anvil Chorus, from "Il Trovatore"

By: Giuseppe Verdi
For: String quartet
page one of Anvil Chorus, from "Il Trovatore"

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Giuseppe Verdi
Year of composition
Difficult (Grades 7+)
3 minutes
Classical music
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The second of the three great middle period operas that solidified Verdi's fame, Il Trovatore is the work that is most based in the traditions of the first half of the nineteenth century. Based on a play by Gutierrez, the plot is filled with the twists and unlikely coincidences that, over the years, have made the opera the butt of many jokes. However, Verdi was stirred to the height of his inspiration by this work, and from its premiere it was an even greater success than its predecessor, Rigoletto.

The original text was by one of the composer's favorite librettists Salvatore Cammarano, but Cammarano died soon after the initial draft was completed, forcing Verdi to turn to Leone Bardare for revisions. Verdi initially contemplated naming the opera after its Gypsy character, Azucena, but in the end the tenor ruled the day.

In 1856, Verdi was commissioned to revise the opera slightly for a French version at the Paris Op�ra; he added a ballet to the third act, rewrote the ending of the final scene, and made other minor revisions. None of these revisions have been incorporated into the standard performance version of the opera.

The importance of Il Trovatore lies in its music; it displays some of the most ingratiating melodies Verdi ever wrote. It has been said that in order to mount a successful performance of this opera, all you need (!) are the four greatest Verdi voices available. From the soaring phrases of Leonora's opening aria to the martial excitement of Manrico's "Di quella pira," all of the conventional operatic forms are used to give the singers a chance to shine. Only Azucena does not have the traditional two-part aria, but she has some of the most memorable solos and duets in the entire opera. From her entrance with the drama of "Stride la vampa" to the tenderness of her Act IV duet with Manrico, she displays a full range of emotion. Di Luna, the baritone villain, is more one dimensional. The role of Manrico is one of the most difficult that Verdi wrote; he needs the grace of a lyric tenor for "Ah si, ben mio" and a full dramatic tenor sound for the following "Di quella pira" (which contains two unwritten high Cs that add considerably to its difficulty). Most tenors find it safer to have this aria transposed down in performance and some even do this on recordings.

Verdi's Il Trovatore is among the last of the "stand and sing" operas: those that give their best effect when well sung, regardless of dramatic portrayals. With its wealth of great music, Il Trovatore will always be an audience favorite, while the critics will complain about its lack of subtlety.

This arrangement is for standard string quartet, with optional bass for use with string orchestra.

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O Christmas Tree, Tales From The Vienna Woods, Suite Bergamasque - No.3 Clair de Lune, Who Let The Cows Out?, Bethena - A Concert Waltz, Le Coucou, Marche Militaire, Op.51 No.1, Kinderszenen, Op.15 No.13 Der Dichter Spricht (The Poet Speaks), Marche Militaire, Op.51 No.1, Berceuse, Op.16, Serenade No.10 "Gran Partita" - 6. Theme and variations, The Washington Post March, Slavonic Dance, Op.72 No.2, Piano Sonata in A "Alla Turca" - 3. Rondo, String Serenade - 2. Waltz, Orchestral Suite No.2 - 3. Sarabande, L'Autunno ("Autumn") - 3. Allegro, Holberg Suite - 4. Air, We Three Kings, The Liberty Bell March, Of The Father's Love Begotten, Symphony No.29 - 3. Menuetto, Humoresque, Op.101 No.7, Trombone Johnsen, La Damnation de Faust - Rakoczy March, Emperor Waltz, L'Estate ("Summer") - 2. Adagio, Presto, Swan Lake - Dance of the Cygnets, Si. Mi chiamano Mimi, from "La boheme", Lohengrin - The Bridal Chorus, Water Music Suite No.2 in D, Brandenburg Concerto No.5 - 1. Allegro, Symphony No.25 - 2. Andante, Orchestral Suite No.2 - 4. Bourree I and II, Policy King, Habanera from "Carmen", Holberg Suite - 5. Rigaudon, String Sonata No.1 - 2. Andante, Children's Corner, No.6 The Golliwog's Cake-Walk, Orchestral Suite No.3 - 4. Bourree, Song to the Moon, from "Rusalka", Concerto in D minor for 2 Violins - 3. Allegro, Birthday Minuet, L'Estate ("Summer") - 3. Presto, Kinderszenen, Op.15 No.11 Furchtenmachen (Frightening), Trio No.3, The Entertainer, Kinderszenen, Op.15 No.7 Traumerei (Dreaming), Hands Across The Sea, Souvenir d'un lieu cher, Op.42 - No.3 Melodie, Artist's Life Waltz, Song Without Words No.27 "Funeral March" Op.62 No.3, St. Paul's Suite - 4. Finale (The Dargason), Gradual, Brandenburg Concerto No.5 - 3. Allegro, Habanera from "Carmen", Canon in D, Sonata "Pathetique" Op.13 - 2. Adagio cantabile, Concerto for Two Violins "L'estro armonico" Op.3 No.8 - Movement 3, L'Inverno ("Winter") - 3. Allegro, Concerto for Two Violins "L'estro armonico" Op.3 No.8 - Movement 1, Sextet: Chi mi frena, from "Lucia di Lammermoor", We Wish You A Merry Christmas, Espana - 2. Tango, Orchestral Suite No.2 - 6. Menuet, The Carnival of the Animals - The Swan, Pavane, Op.50, L'Autunno ("Autumn") - 1. Allegro, Chanson Triste, Op.40 No.2, Mon coeur s'ouvre a ta voix, from "Samson et Dalila", Brandenburg Concerto No.3 - 1. Allegro, Little Jesus, Sweetly Sleep, A Midsummer Night's Dream Op.61 "The Wedding March", L'Inverno ("Winter") - 1. Allegro non molto, O Come, All Ye Faithful (Adeste Fidelis), The Ragtime Dance, Symphony No.25 - 1. Allegro con brio, Children's Corner, No.6 The Golliwog's Cake-Walk, In Dulci Jubilo, The High School Cadets, L'Inverno ("Winter") - 2. Largo, Christians, Awake!, Holberg Suite - 1. Prelude, The Magic Flute - March, A Midsummer Night's Dream Op.61 "The Wedding March", Serenade No.10 , O soave fanciulla, from "La boheme", Largo al factotum, from "The Barber of Seville", The First Noel, Thais - Meditation, Who Let The Cows Out? - For Sax Quartet (AATB), Holberg Suite - 3. Gavotte and Musette, Gymnopedie No.1, Ode To Joy, God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen, Capriol Suite, Solomon - Act III, Sinfonia "Arrival of the Queen of Sheba", The Merry Wives of Windsor - Overture, Song Without Words No.45 - Scherzo Op.102 No.3, Concerto in D minor for 2 Violins - 1. Vivace, Lullay My Liking, Piano Sonata No.14 "Moonlight" - 2. Allegretto, String Sonata No.1 - 1. Moderato, Symphony No.29 - 4. Allegro con spirito, Orchestral Suite No.3 - 3. Gavotte I and II, 16 Songs for Children, Op.54 No.6 Legend ("When Jesus Christ Was Yet A Child"), God Save The Queen, String Sonata No.1 - 3. Allegro, Brandenburg Concerto No.2 - 3. Allegro assai, La Cinquantaine, Jerusalem (And Did Those Feet In Ancient Time), Brook Green Suite - 2. Air, The Cannon Ball Rag, King Cotton, Symphony No.40 - 1. Allegro molto, Water Music Suite No.1 in F, La Primavera ("Spring") - 1. Allegro, Key-Stone Rag, Concerto in D minor for 2 Violins - 2. Largo ma non tanto, Minute Waltz, Op.64 No.1, Song Without Words No.30 - Spring Song Op.62 No.6, Semper Fidelis, Trio No.2, Deck The Halls, Orchestral Suite No.3 - 1. Overture, The Nutcracker - Overture, Un bel di vedremo, from "Madama Butterfly", Brandenburg Concerto No.6 - 3. Allegro, Rosamunde - Ballet Music No.2, La Marseillaise, La Primavera ("Spring") - 3. Allegro: Danza pastorale, The Sleeping Beauty - Waltz, Brandenburg Concerto No.5 - 2. Affettuoso, Praise, My Soul, The King Of Heaven, L'Autunno ("Autumn") - 2. Adagio molto, In The Bleak Mid-Winter, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, Symphony No.29 - 2. Andante, Au fond du temple saint, from "The Pearl Fishers", St. Paul's Suite - 1. Jig, Symphony No.25 - 3. Menuetto, La Primavera ("Spring") - 2. Largo, Symphony No.40 - 4. Allegro assai, Thaxted (I vow to thee, my country), The Marriage of Figaro - Overture, The Amazon Rag, The Blue Danube Waltzes, Vissa d'arte, from "Tosca", Lullaby, The Holly And The Ivy, St. Paul's Suite - 3. Intermezzo, Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring, A Midsummer Night's Dream Op.61 - Scherzo, The Flight of the Bumble Bee, A Midsummer Night's Dream Op.61 - Nocturne, Roses From The South, Once in Royal David's City, St. Paul's Suite - 2. Ostinato, Symphony No.29 - 1. Allegro moderato, Brook Green Suite - 1. Prelude, Babes in Toyland - March of the Toys, Unto Us A Child Is Born, Maple Leaf Rag, Wine, Women and Song, Concerto for Two Violins "L'estro armonico" Op.3 No.8 - Movement 2, Rosamunde - Ballet Music No.2, Silent Night, Orchestral Suite No.2 - 2. Rondeau, Serenade No.10 "Gran Partita" - 2. Menuetto; Trio 1; Trio 2, Pictures at an Exhibition - Promenade, The Blue Danube Waltzes, O mio babbino caro, from "Gianni Schicchi", Angels We Have Heard On High, Che gelida manina, from "La boheme", William Tell - Overture, Trio No.4, Ah! per sempre io ti perdei, from "I Puritani", I Saw Three Ships, Symphony No.40 - 1. Allegro molto, Senza Mamma, from "Suor Angelica", Brandenburg Concerto No.6 - 2. Adagio ma non tanto, Slavonic Dance, Op.46 No.7, O come, O come, Emmanuel, Brandenburg Concerto No.3 - 2. Adagio - Allegro, Symphonie Fantastique - 2. Un Bal, Orchestral Suite No.2 - 1. Overture, Away In A Manger, Orchestral Suite No.2 - 5. Polonaise and Double, Solomon - Act III, Sinfonia "Arrival of the Queen of Sheba", Symphony No.40 - 2. Andante, Auld Lang Syne, Orchestral Suite No.2 - 7. Badinerie, The Coventry Carol, Symphony No.25 - 4. Allegro, Water Music Suite No.3 in G, Ave Maria, Op.52 No.6, Carmen - Act 1: Prelude, The Barber of Seville - Overture, Symphony No.40 - 3. Menuetto, Slavonic Dance, Op.46 No.8, Serenade No.10 "Gran Partita" - 3. Adagio, O Little Town Of Bethlehem (1), Brandenburg Concerto No.2 - 1. Allegro, O Holy Night and 1812 Overture

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