The Rossini Overture is practically a genre unto itself, for few other composers have had so many operatic overtures find a second home in the concert hall. Semiramide is one of Rossini’s lengthier overtures, clocking in at approximately twelve minutes, although in this transcription it has been reduced to a more manageable eight minutes. Characteristically, Rossini uses several themes from the opera as the basis for his instrumental prelude. This overture became extremely popular in Rossini’s day and its most distinctive feature is the rich andantino passage, introduced by the four horns that dominates the slow introduction after an opening flourish. It proved to be the last opera Rossini wrote in his native Italy. After a brief sojourn in London, he moved to Paris the following year and settled permanently in the French capital.
Duration: 8 minutes
Difficulty: 2nd Section and above