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William Tell: Overture and Arias
flute, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, trombone, 2 bassoons, contrabassoon
Catalogue Number: HV038
Score and parts: £50.00
Skill level (A-E): D/E

William Tell was Rossini's last opera and one of his longest (lasting 4 hours). The libretto was based on the play, Wilhelm Tell, by Friedrich Schiller. Because of the fairly sensitive nature to the ruling caste in Italy (the story portrays rebellion against an existing and occupying authority) the opera was always a problem to the Italian censors of the time. It was first performed in 1829 at the Paris Opéra in 1829, and then in Italy at the Teatro La Fenice in 1833, the latter not giving another performance, no doubt due to the subject matter, for another 50 years. It was a difficult opera to stage with its length (often cut) and demands on the singers (especially the tenor); despite this and the Austrian censors it was performed in Vienna over 400 times during the nineteenth century. This arrangement for wind is taken from a manuscript (A35.22) in the Moravské zemské muzeum in Brno. The arrangement is presented in 2 volumes which the present edition has combined into one. The title page of each volume has the following text—

Wilhelm Tell
11 stimige Harmonie

Capella Augustinian

The overture and movements 2 through 8 are from Volume II, while the remaining movements are from Volume I. It is not clear what is the significance of the volume numbering and why the overture and earlier Scenes are in Volume II. We have chosen to order the movements with the overture and earlier scenes first. It is also unclear who this arrangement was made by—the title page and the parts give no clue. It is clear from the notes at the end of each part that the arrangement was made in 1831, two years after the opera was first performed in August 1829. Each part has a different name associated with it (placed at the end of each volume) which may or may not be a clue to the arranger.


  1. Overture
  2. Allegro vivace. Chorus: "Près des torrens qui grondent"
  3. Allegro. Recit: "Mais quel bruit?"
  4. Allegro. Duet: "Ou vas tu?"
  5. Allegro. Duet: "Quel langage sevère!"
  6. Allegretto. Danz
  7. Moderato. Duet: "Quel bruit arrive á mon oreille?"
  8. Maestoso. Air and Chorus: "Asile héreditaire"
  9. Andantino. Chorus: "Vierge que les chrátiens adorent"
  10. Allegro. vivace Chorus of Hunters and Swiss
  11. Andantino. Duet: "Doux aveu!"
  12. Allegro maestoso. Trio: "Quand l"Helvétie..."
  13. Moderato. Finale: "Des profondeurs bois immense"

(Audio generated by Sibelius/NotePerformer)

Note that the flute is only scored in the overture.

It is possible to buy just the Overture, HV039.


The first print run contains a number of errors that were a result of my errors and misreading the manuscripts. Most have only surfaced after a play through. Apologies to all concerned and I will be issuing a new edition as soon as I can with these errors corrected.

Flute, Bars 206, 207, 210 and 211 : Overture
Several errors which are corrected in this downloadable PDF excerpt which can be used to overlay your old part.
Clarinet 1, Bar 220 : Overture
Notes should be as shown
Flute, Bar 270 : Overture
Last note should be A♯
Clarinet 1, Bar 285 : Overture
Horn 1, Bar 2 : 3. Allegro. Recit: "Mais quel bruit?"
Whole bar entered wrong
Bassoon 1, Bars 7 and 15 : 6. Allegretto. Danz
Second quaver should be A3, not B3♭.
Horn 2, Bars 9 and 17 : 6. Allegretto. Danz
Both quavers should be written E4
Clarinet 1, Bar 51 : 10. Allegro vivace. Chorus of Hunters and Swiss
First beat should be written C4 and second beat should be A5.
Bassoon 1, Bar 51 : 10. Allegro vivace. Chorus of Hunters and Swiss
First beat should be written Bb3.
Oboe 1, Bar 69 : 10. Allegro vivace. Chorus of Hunters and Swiss
First note should be Bb4
Oboe 2, Bars 44 – 48 : 11. Andantino. Duet
Oboe 2, Bars 55 – 57 : 11. Andantino. Duet
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