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1812 Overture - Part 1

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The "1812" Overture is a spectacular musical recreation of Napoleon's invasion of Russia in 1812. Especially when played by the Berlin Philharmonic! The work begins with a slow, solemn theme. A Russian would instantly recognise this sound... ...Tchaikovsky is imitating the deep, sonorous sound of Russian Orthodox church music. Imagine a full choir singing in a majestic church... ...praying for God's help against the invading French. With a loud drum beat, the invasion begins. A lone oboe stands out against the churning sound of the strings. The pure Russians, maybe, surrounded by the turmoil of war? It all gets more and more dramatic... ...building up... ...Tchaikovsky brings in the brass, driving everything into a chaotic frenzy! (How cool is this piece?) We reach a huge climax...the first of many. The cellos retreat ominously back into silence. What's this we hear? It's the Russian army! It consists of the famous marching bit (that we all know) with a smooth violin melody over the top. This dies down to bring us into the next section. The next section is a complex, scurrying section. Fast, anxious melodies on the violins, gradually building up in intensity. We feel a major battle approaching. And with cymbal crashes to represent musket fire, all hell breaks loose! As we hear the Marseillaise on the trumpets, Tchaikovsky gives us a musical representation of Napoleon's forces... The skirmish gets even more heated. The French music rings out triumphantly. They appear to be winning... ...driving the Russians back into a retreat. Night falls .... We hear a very sentimental melody. Maybe representing the comradeship of the Russians round the camp fire? Either way, it gives us a break from the fighting and a chance for some gorgeous orchestral music. Watch the conductor (Seiji Ozawa) - he points at the camera, so you think he's asking you to play along at home... ...but he's actually bringing in the woodwinds. (Sorry, would-be home orchestra players.) It all gradually dies down again to move us into the next episode... ...a gentle flute solo. Not sure what it represents - a peasant dance? The point is, it's a respite from the battle, which is about to heat up again...

Video Details

Duration: 9 minutes and 16 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Views: 436
Posted by: bromley on Jul 12, 2009

1812 Overture with explanatory subtitles.

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