1812 Overture, fantastic composition by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky in HD!<< Previous classical music pieceNext classical music piece >>
The Year 1812 (festival overture in E♭ major, Op. 49), popularly known as the 1812 Overture or the Overture of 1812, is an overture written by Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky in 1880 to commemorate Russia's defense of its motherland against Napoleon's invading Grande Armée in 1812. It has also become a common accompaniment to fireworks displays, including those in the United States during Fourth of July celebrations. The piece has no connection to the War of 1812 between the United States and Britain.
The overture debuted in Moscow on 20 August 1882, conducted by Ippolit Al'tani under a tent near the unfinished Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, which also memorialized the 1812 defense of Russia. The overture is best known for its climactic volley of cannon fire, ringing chimes, and brass fanfare finale.
Beginning with the plaintive Russian Orthodox Troparion of the Holy Cross played by four cellos and two violas, the piece moves through a mixture of pastoral and martial themes portraying the increasing distress of the Russian people at the hands of the invading French. This passage includes a Russian folk dance, At the Gate, at my Gate (U Vorot, Vorot"). At the turning point of the invasion—the Battle of Borodino—the score calls for five Russian cannon shots confronting a boastfully repetitive fragment of La Marseillaise. A descending string passage represents the subsequent retreat of the French forces, followed by victory bells and a triumphant repetition of God Preserve Thy People as Moscow burns to deny winter quarters to the French. A musical chase scene appears, out of which emerges the anthem God Save the Tsar! thundering with eleven more precisely scored shots. The overture utilizes counterpoint to reinforce the appearance of the leitmotif that represents the Russian forces throughout the piece. A total of sixteen cannon shots are written into the score of the Overture.
The text above is taken from Wikipedia, under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.
Audio source: Youtube Audio Library
Picture title: The Emperor Napoleon in His Study at the Tuileries, 1812
Picture artist: Jacques-Louis David
Picture source: images.nga.gov
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