Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Unit 9 1812 Overture

It is said that Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture was the composers least favorite work. Yet, it has become one of his most enduring, and popular pieces. Though to many Americans it is just a song played on the 4th of July for a war and invasion that happened in the same year, the piece itself is a symphonic poem showcasing the hopes and dreams of Russia at the time of the invasion of the French. Tchaikovsky paints a background of a brave Russia who is confident in its look on the future. As I learned recently in 1960 an American Composer of Russian background Igor Buketoff at the behest of Eugene Ormandy reconstructed portions of 1812. Such as adding an a cappela choir in the fashion of the Russian Orthodox church. To me I especially like this version because the hymn sung in the beginning is "God Perserve Thy People." The most poignant and emotional driven part of this symphonic poem is when the French retreat is symbolized by a downward spiraling scale form the entire orchestra, that eventually leds in to a fortissimo re entry of the Hymn which then segues into the ever popular ending.

The Hymn is as follows:

Mighty Lord,
Preserve us from jeopardy.
Take thee now our fate
and glow bright in penitence,
And be with me
O'er trecherous and cruel and grand unease and to our land bring peace.
O mighty Lord hear our lowly prayer,
and by light, shinning Holy light,
Grant us, O Lord, Peace again.
O mighty Lord hear our prayer.

I should also note that because Tchaikovsky had not originally intended for a choir most recordings feature no choir at all. I however implore one should listen to recordings both with a choir and without. I feel that adding the choir does the piece more justice.

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