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One of the first scores I submitted to 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’s remained in a virtual ’embryo’ state ever since!
This Christmas, Dad and I fully intended returning to our favourite Monkbar Hotel in York, but decided against risking travelling on the icy roads. This gave me some spare time to play with, so I thought I’d resurrect the piece.
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!
As with The Lone Ar-ranger, I’ve started with a piano duet version which, if successful, will be added to with various other arrangements as before.
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!
STOP PRESS: Following a request from Karyn Weber, founder of Clarinet Fusion - a Clarinet Choir from the San Francisco Bay Area - I have now added two independent parts for Contra Alto Clarinet in Eb, and Contrabass Clarinet in Bb - which their contra player, Mark Horne, has kindly produced and edited.