Gioachino Rossini – “The Thieving Magpie”

Year: 1817

Album: La gazza ladra (“The Thieving Magpie”)

“When the phone rang I was in the kitchen, boiling a potful of spaghetti and whistling along with an FM broadcast of the overture to Rossini’s The Thieving Magpie, which has to be the perfect music for cooking pasta.”

-Haruki Murakami’s The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

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Rossini’s playful, wicked melodramma, referenced in Murakami’s famous opening sentence, was also made famous in popular modern culture by Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, in which the famous overture plays bizarre contrast to the film’s ultraviolence. Speaking of bizarre, the overture to Rossini’s two-act opera is notable for leading with a startling snare drum, which must have scared the heck out of the unknowing Italian audience at the piece’s 1817 premiere in Milan.

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