Tag Archives: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

The Debut of the 1812 Overture

This blog is about the experiences of the soldiers during the Russian campaign.  Whenever possible, I post the accounts on the 200th anniversary of the actual event.  Today, however, a friend pointed out to me that it is the 130th anniversary of the public debut of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture in Moscow.

The music is best known to American audiences as the soundtrack to Fourth of July fireworks grand finales.  However, it was written to commemorate the  victory of the Russians over the French in 1812.  The listener is taken through the stages of the invasion:  The advance and victories of the French, the battle at Borodino, the retreat of the French and the victory of the Russians.  The piece is over 16 minutes long and includes the firing of cannon and the ringing of church bells (for those performances that go all out).

This recording (Antal Dorati) includes the ringing of carrillon bells and the firing of cannon at West Point

You can listen to the Overture here if you scroll down to the bottom.  (Note: The recording on the website referenced above is not the same as the one pictured to the left which was a Christmas present to me last year).

Thank you to Lizzie Ross for giving me the “heads up” on this significant anniversary.