Anvil Chorus

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The Anvil Chorus is the English name for the Coro di Zingari [1] (Italian for "Gypsy chorus"), a chorus from act 2, scene 1 of Giuseppe Verdi's 1853 opera Il trovatore . It depicts Spanish Gypsies striking their anvils at dawn hence its English name and singing the praises of hard work, good wine, and Gypsy women. The piece is also commonly known by its opening words, "Vedi! Le fosche".

Giuseppe Verdi 19th-century Italian opera composer

Giuseppe Fortunino Francesco Verdi was an Italian opera composer. He was born near Busseto to a provincial family of moderate means, and developed a musical education with the help of a local patron. Verdi came to dominate the Italian opera scene after the era of Vincenzo Bellini, Gaetano Donizetti, and Gioachino Rossini, whose works significantly influenced him. By his 30s, he had become one of the pre-eminent opera composers in history.

Opera artform combining sung text and musical score in a theatrical setting

Opera is a form of theatre in which music has a leading role and the parts are taken by singers, but is distinct from musical theater. Such a "work" is typically a collaboration between a composer and a librettist and incorporates a number of the performing arts, such as acting, scenery, costume, and sometimes dance or ballet. The performance is typically given in an opera house, accompanied by an orchestra or smaller musical ensemble, which since the early 19th century has been led by a conductor.

<i>Il trovatore</i> opera by Giuseppe Verdi

Il trovatore is an opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto largely written by Salvadore Cammarano, based on the play El trovador (1836) by Antonio García Gutiérrez. It was Gutiérrez's most successful play, one which Verdi scholar Julian Budden describes as "a high flown, sprawling melodrama flamboyantly defiant of the Aristotelian unities, packed with all manner of fantastic and bizarre incident."


Italian libretto and poetic English adaptation

Zingari e zingare:
Vedi! Le fosche notturne spoglie
De' cieli sveste l'immensa volta;
Sembra una vedova che alfin si toglie
i bruni panni ond'era involta.

All'opra! all'opra!
Dàgli, martella.

Chi del gitano i giorni abbella?
La zingarella!

Versami un tratto; lena e coraggio
Il corpo e l'anima traggon dal bere.

Oh guarda, guarda! del sole un raggio
Brilla più vivido nel mio [tuo] bicchiere!
All'opra, all'opra!
Dàgli, martella.

Chi del gitano i giorni abbella?
La zingarella! [2]

Gypsy men and women:
See how the clouds melt away
from the face of the sky when the sun shines, its brightness beaming;
just as a widow, discarding her black robes,
shows all her beauty in brilliance gleaming.

So, to work now!
Lift up your hammers!

Who turns the Gypsy's day from gloom to brightest sunshine?
His lovely Gypsy maid!

Fill up the goblets! New strength and courage
flow from lusty wine to soul and body.

See how the rays of the sun play and sparkle
and give to our wine gay new splendor.
So, to work now!
Lift up your hammers!

Who turns the Gypsy's day from gloom to brightest sunshine?
His lovely Gypsy maid!

Other uses

Thomas Baker wrote Il Trovatore Quadrille (1855) for piano, which includes a movement based on this chorus. [3] Similarly, pianist/composer Charles Grobe wrote variations on the Anvil Chorus for piano in 1857. [4] A swing jazz arrangement by Jerry Gray for the Glenn Miller Orchestra in 1941 reached #3 on the U.S. Billboard charts. [5] The melodic theme also served as the inspiration for "Rockin' the Anvil" for swing jazz ensemble and accordion on John Serry Sr.'s 1956 album Squeeze Play .

Thomas Baker was a nineteenth-century composer and musical producer.

A movement is a self-contained part of a musical composition or musical form. While individual or selected movements from a composition are sometimes performed separately, a performance of the complete work requires all the movements to be performed in succession. A movement is a section, "a major structural unit perceived as the result of the coincidence of relatively large numbers of structural phenomena".

A unit of a larger work that may stand by itself as a complete composition. Such divisions are usually self-contained. Most often the sequence of movements is arranged fast-slow-fast or in some other order that provides contrast.

Jerry Gray (arranger) American violinist, arranger, composer, and bandleader

Jerry Gray was an American violinist, arranger, composer, and leader of swing dance orchestras bearing his name. He is widely known for his work with popular music during the Swing era. His name is inextricably linked to two of the most famous bandleaders of the time, Artie Shaw and Glenn Miller. Gray, along with Bill Finegan, wrote many of Miller's arrangements during the late 1930s and early 1940s. In the latter part of Gray's career, his orchestra served as the house band at the Venetian Room of the Fairmont Hotel, Dallas.

The tune of the chorus was closely parodied in "The Burglar's Chorus" in Gilbert and Sullivan's 1879 comic opera The Pirates of Penzance, and soon after became a popular song with the lyrics Hail, Hail, the Gang's All Here . [6]

Gilbert and Sullivan Victorian-era theatrical partnership

Gilbert and Sullivan refers to the Victorian-era theatrical partnership of the dramatist W. S. Gilbert (1836–1911) and the composer Arthur Sullivan (1842–1900) and to the works they jointly created. The two men collaborated on fourteen comic operas between 1871 and 1896, of which H.M.S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance and The Mikado are among the best known.

Comic opera opera genre

Comic opera denotes a sung dramatic work of a light or comic nature, usually with a happy ending.

<i>The Pirates of Penzance</i> Comic, two-act opera by Gilbert and Sullivan.

The Pirates of Penzance; or, The Slave of Duty is a comic opera in two acts, with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. S. Gilbert. The opera's official premiere was at the Fifth Avenue Theatre in New York City on 31 December 1879, where the show was well received by both audiences and critics. Its London debut was on 3 April 1880, at the Opera Comique, where it ran for 363 performances, having already been playing successfully for more than three months in New York.

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  1. The Ricordi score uses the title "Coro di Zingari", not "degli Zingari", on p. 100 of its score.
  2. Italian and English text
  3. Il Trovatore Quadrille by Thomas Baker : Scores at the International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP)
  4. Anvil Chorus, Op. 910, by Charles Grobe : Scores at the International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP)
  5. "Billboard Magazine (USA) Weekly Single Charts For 1941". Hits of All Decades. Retrieved September 14, 2016.
  6. Richard Taruskin (14 August 2006). "12". Music in the Nineteenth Century: The Oxford History of Western Music. Oxford University Press. pp. 596–597. ISBN   978-0-19-979602-1 . Retrieved 23 October 2018.