If something becomes popular, it will be made fun of. Gordon Jacob’s The Barber of Seville Goes To The Devil is a prime example of musical parody. Gioachino Rossini’s original opera, The Barber of Seville has been massively popular since it was first performed in 1816. Anyone marginally aware of the opera can hum tunes featured in the overture to the opera. In 1960 Jacob composed The Barber of Seville Goes To The Devil as a humorous homage to Rossini’s original.
2019–2020 SERIES: GREAT COMPOSERS
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Concert Content Highlights
Ottorino Respighi, one of the great composer-conductor-pianists of his time, was born in Bologna and studied in St. Petersburg under Rimsky-Korsakov and in Berlin under Bruch. However, it was in Rome, where Respighi settled in 1913, that he found his true inspiration.
Haydn composed his Trumpet Concerto in E Flat in 1796 for his friend Anton Weidinger, who was also the developer of the keyed trumpet that could play chromatically. Unlike the natural trumpet, the keyed trumpet had four to six holes or keys similar to the flute; however, the keyed trumpet was ultimately not successful due to its poor sound quality. (Trumpets used today are called valved trumpets and were first introduced in the 1830s.) In fact, the piece is considered one of Haydn’s most popular concertos and is a favorite of trumpet players and classical music lovers everywhere.
In 1839 the Theater Pension Fund asked Felix Mendelssohn to write an overture and a song for their production of Ruy Blas, a play by Victor Hugo. They hoped having Mendelssohn’s name attached to the production would bring in a larger audience. Mendelssohn did not care for the content of Ruy Blas (a rather violent and bloody play), but wanted to support the organization so he wrote the song. The Theater Pension Fund thanked him for the song and expressed disappointment in the lack of an overture.