program notes by composition > I > Italian inĀ Algiers

Italian in Algiers

Gioacchino Antonio Rossini/trans. Lucien Cailliet

First performed in 1813, L'Italiana in Algeri is an operatic dramma giocoso in two acts. It involves Isabella, whose ship founders on the Barbary Coast just at a time when the local ruler is looking to discharge an exist- ing wife and find a beautiful Italian girl to add to his harem.

Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868) was a popular Italian composer. He was born into a family of musicians in Pesaro, a town on the Adriatic coast of Italy. He wrote 39 operas as well as sacred music and chamber music, mostly in the first half of his life. His best known works include The Barber of Seville and William Tell . Italian in Algiers was a notable success and he made progressive changes to the work for later performances. Financially successful, Rossini entered semi-retirement at the age of 32.

Lucien Cailliet (1897-1985) transcribed this arrangement for band. Cailliet was a bandmaster in the French Army before emigrating to the U.S. in 1918. He was well-known as an American composer, conductor, arranger and clarinetist. He was Associate Conductor of The Allentown Band for 35 years. He played and arranged for the Philadelphia Orchestra. He taught at USC and composed or arranged almost 50 film scores. In the 1950s Cailliet lived in Kenosha, Wisconsin where he worked for the musical instrument producer G. Leblanc Company and conducted the Kenosha Symphony Orchestra.

Last updated on July 30, 2013 by Palatine Concert Band