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Art, Music, French Revolution, Army, Russia, Tchaikovsky, Overture, Soviet Union
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Pyotr IIvich Tchaikovsky did the masterpiece named, ‘the year 1812 overture’. He did it in flat major in order to commemorate the success of the Russian army in defending Moscow against Napoleon troops. The battle was fought at Borodino (Zamoyski, Adam 2004). In Overture, Tchaikovsky narrates about the retreat of Napoleon and his troop from Russia. This is implicated from the referencing of La Marsillaise which is the French’s national anthem and the Russian song namely God save the Czar.
Tchaikovsky overture begins by the plain Slavic Orthodox Troparion played by cellos and violas then advances to a combination of pastoral then marital themes creating a picture of distress the Russian underwent in the hands of the invading Napoleon’s army. Indeed the music was a literal depiction of the army campaign against the French.
Tchaikovsky wrote the artistic commemorative piece after being asked by a friend to do so. This was intended to be used in fast approaching festivities like the coronation of Alexander II 25th anniversary in 1881. This score was set to be performed accompanied by an orchestra, cathedral bells and live cannon fire stimulated from an electric circuit to reinforce its theme. According to Tchaikovsky, the overture would be very loud and noisy for he believed he wrote it without any love and warmth. He felt that he was committing a score that wasn’t artistic for he wasn’t good at conducting festival pieces. Tchaikovsky castigated his 1812 overture but it ended up renowned score in music played numerous times (Matz e.tal 2006).
Lax, Roger; Frederick Smith. The Great Song Thesaurus. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989.
Matz, Carol; Bernadine Johnson A. Night at the Symphony. New York: Alfred Publishing, 2006. Print.
Zamoyski, Adam Moscow 1812: Moscow 1812: Napoleons Fatal March London: HarperCollins, 2004.
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