TCHAIKOVSKY - 1812 Overture Full

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TCHAIKOVSKY - 1812 Overture Full -

According to Wikipedia:
The Year 1812 Solemn Overture, festival overture in E♭ major, Op. 49, popularly known as the 1812 Overture,[1] is a concert overture written in 1880 by Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky to commemorate the successful Russian defense against Napoleon's invading Grande Armée in 1812.

The overture debuted in Moscow on August 20, 1882,[2] conducted by Ippolit Al'tani under a tent near the then-unfinished Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, which also memorialized the 1812 defense of Russia. Tchaikovsky himself conducted another performance at the dedication of Carnegie Hall in New York City. That was one of the first times a major European composer visited the United States.

The 15 minute overture is best known for its climactic volley of cannon fire, ringing chimes, and brass fanfare finale. It has also become a common accompaniment to fireworks displays on the United States' Independence Day. The 1812 Overture went on to become one of Tchaikovsky's most popular works, along with his ballet scores to The Nutcracker, The Sleeping Beauty, and Swan Lake.

Historical background: Napoleon's invasion of Russia

A scene depicting the French retreat from Russia in 1812, painting by Illarion Pryanishnikov (1874)
Main article: French invasion of Russia
On September 7, 1812, at Borodino, 120 km (75 mi) west of Moscow, Napoleon's forces met those of General Mikhail Kutuzov in a concerted stand made by Russia against the seemingly invincible French Army. The Battle of Borodino saw casualties estimated as high as 100,000 and the French were masters of the field. It was, however, ultimately a pyrrhic victory for the French invasion.

With resources depleted and supply lines overextended, Napoleon's weakened forces moved into Moscow, which they occupied with little resistance. Expecting capitulation from the displaced Tsar Alexander I, the French instead found themselves in a barren and desolate city, parts of which the retreating Russian Army had burned to the ground.[citation needed]

Deprived of winter stores, Napoleon had to retreat. Beginning on October 19 and lasting well into December, the French Army faced several overwhelming obstacles on its long retreat: famine, typhus, frigid temperatures, harassing cossacks, and Russian forces barring the way out of the country. Abandoned by Napoleon in November, the Grande Armée was reduced to one-tenth of its original size by the time it reached Poland and relative safety.

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