Thursday, October 23, 2014

Another cheesy use for classical music

Italian composer Gioachino Antonio Rossini (1792 – 1868) wrote 39 operas, as well as many other songs, but we know him best for "The William Tell Overture," which was used for years as the theme song to "The Oprah Winfrey Show" "The Lone Ranger" on radio and television.  William Tell was a 14th-century Swiss hero immortalized today for splitting an apple off the head of his son Walter, as ordered by an overlord who was steamed at Tell for not bowing before the hat of the overlord, which was hung in the town square for all to revere.

I'm not making this up!

The overlord was going to kill Tell, but forced him into the arrow-apple bit, and Tell secretly took two arrows out of his quiver before launching one at old Walter, the idea being that if he got Walter in the Adam's apple, rather than the Red Delicious atop his head, Tell would use the other arrow on Gessler, the politically-appointed head cheese who was causing all this trouble.

Gonna need hot sauce, please
Speaking of cheese...The William Tell Overture was the last opera that Rossini wrote, although he lived almost 40 more years.  He was a noted gourmand over in Italy and spent a lot of those years devising recipes and dishes that we still order today. Working with his close friend, Dante "Veal" Parmigiana, Rossini came up with Tournedos Rossini, described as "filet mignon pan-fried in butter, served on a crouton, topped with a hot slice of fresh pan-fried foie gras, garnished with slices of black truffle and finished with a Madeira demi-glace sauce."

That's not quite as catchy as "two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles and onions on a sesame-seed bun," but it's close.  And Tournedos Rossini doesn't even have cheese!

The reason this song is on my mind is that baseball season is over here in Baltimore, and with it goes the radio commercial for a certain car dealer, which we all heard a thousand times per game, it seemed.  The jingle for the car dealer (let's call him "Rog Dodge") took the Lone Ranger melody and chirped, "Save a buck, save a buck, save a buck buck buck on a Rog Dodge Jeep, car, van or truck!"

That is not at all what either Gioachino Antonio Rossini or Buck Showalter, for that matter, had in mind, I'm sure.  It's just another way of misusing great classical music for modern commercial gain.

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