Tchaikovsky 1812 Overture, Op. 49

The Year 1812 (festival overture in E♭ major, Op. 49), also known as 1812 Overture, is an orchestral work by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky commemorating the unsuccessful French invasion into Russia, and the subsequent devastating withdrawal of Napoleon's Grande Armée, an event that marked 1812 as the major turning point of the Napoleonic Wars. The work is best known for the sequence of cannon fire, which is sometimes performed, especially at outside festivals, using live cannons. When performed indoors, orchestras may use computer generated cannon sounds or huge barrel drums. Although the composition has no historical connection with the America-Britain War of 1812, it is often performed in the US alongside other patriotic music. The overture debuted in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow on August 20, 1882.


1812 Overture



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