La Gazza Ladra

From Wind Repertory Project
Gioacchino Rossini

Gioacchino Rossini (trans. Lucien Cailliet)

Subtitle: (The Thievish Magpie) : Overture

General Info

Year: 1817 / 1954 / 1968
Duration: c. 10:30
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Orchestra
Publisher: Sam Fox, through LudwigMasters Music
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $100.00   |   Score Only (print) - $10.00

For further availability information, see Discussion tab, above.


Full Score
C Piccolo
D-flat Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet Solo-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Bass Saxophone
B-flat Cornet Solo-II-III
B-flat Trumpet
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
String Bass
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Snare Drum (2)
  • Triangle


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

La Gazza Ladra, an opera buffa on two acts by Gioacchino Rossini, was given its premier performance at La Scala, Milan, May 31, 1817, about fourteen months after the debut of his The Barber of Seville.

Despite the fact that the plot is complicated in the manner of the period, Rossini and his librettist, Gherardini, had fashioned a "book" with many fresh touches. The lecherous old mayor; the falsely accused maiden in the clutches of despair – these and many other characterizations were to become stock figures in comic operas of a later period. The main novelty, however, was the inclusion of a pet magpie who was the real culprit and, through whose mischievous thievery of household effects, placed others in jeopardy.

One revealing historical sidelight is the fact that Mozart's librettist, Lorenzo da Ponte, used La Gazza Ladra to inaugurate the first theatre in New York devoted only to the presentation of opera. The opera remained popular in New York until the 1890s, at which time the Bel Canto school yielded to the new "Verismo" school. The overture has remained a staple of the symphonic orchestra repertory since the time it was composed.

- Program Note from score

The composer Giaochino Rossini wrote quickly, and La gazza ladra was no exception. According to legend, before the first performance of the opera, the producer assured the composition of the overture by locking Rossini in a room, from the window of which the composer threw out the sheets of music to the copyists who then wrote the orchestral parts, to complete the composition of the opera. As such, The Thieving Magpie is best known for the overture, which is musically notable for its use of snare drums. The unique inspiration in the melodies is extreme, famously used to bizarre and dramatic effect in Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange. It was referenced by Haruki Murakami in his work The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle at the very beginning of the book. This memorable section in Rossini's overture evokes the image of the opera's main subject: a devilishly clever, thieving magpie.

- Program Note from Wikipedia

The overture to The Thieving Magpie begins in a military manner with two rolls on the snare drum. The full band loudly presents the main melody, a vigorous march, which is worked out briefly. Drum rolls, a brief crescendo, and five chords end this part of the overture. The allegro section contains two basic melodies: a glistening and delicate theme for the clarinets and a piquant subject shared by the entire woodwind section. As with other Rossini overtures, an exciting culmination is realized with the crescendo.

- Program Note from Program Notes for band


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State Ratings

  • Alabama: Class AA
  • Arkansas: V
  • Georgia: VI
  • Kansas: V
  • Louisiana: V
  • Maryland: VI
  • North Carolina: VI
  • Oklahoma: V-A
  • South Carolina: VI
  • Tennessee: VI
  • Texas: V. Complete
  • Virginia: VI


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Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

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  • La Gazza Ladra, Wikipedia Accessed 27 February 2017
  • Perusal score
  • Rossini, G.; Cailliet, L. (1954). La Gazza Ladra = : The Thievish Magpie : Overture [score]. Sam Fox Pub.: New York.
  • Smith, Norman E. (2002). Program Notes for Band. Chicago: GIA Publications, pp. 520.