Tschaikovsky - 1812 Overture, op. 49

Tchaikovsky's Overture 1812 expresses Russia's nationalist spirit for the Russians' magnificent victory over Napoleon. In 1880, when he was writing the charming Serenade for Strings, Tchaikovsky undertook to compose a "ceremonial introduction" for an exhibition of industrial art in Moscow. As a theme of his introduction he chose Napoleon's Russia Campaign, which ended with the great victory of the Russian Army. At first the composer intended the introduction to be for outdoor performance and felt that it should be "very loud and noisy". Since then the introduction has become his most famous and most popular concert work. The "1812 Overture" is in fact an introduction to a concerto, in other words is a stand-alone work of orchestral music and not an introduction to opera or a more extensive work. The play describes the invasion of Russia by Napoleon's troops in 1812 and their retreat and defeat in the winter of the same year. Despite


Maracas (almost always used in a pair) is an important instrument of the Latin American orchestra. The distinctive rustling and soft rhythmic tone seem to represent the dancers' own movements.

The first maracas (now known as shakers) were dried pumpkins, whose seeds rattled when they moved. Later, they emptied the pumpkins from their content, scraped them and filled them with larger seeds or gravel to improve the sound of the instrument. Pumpkins were often selected on the basis of their shape - the neck could be used as an organ handle.

Maracas belong to the category of "empty rattles". They are among the oldest instruments and have been used for various purposes. They were associated with magec, used in religious ceremonies, as coordinators of the rhythm of dancers and more recently as rattles for babies.

From Cuba
The pumpkin rattle is their most widespread form. In places where pumplkins do not grow, the instrument is made from other materials. Ceramic versions are common and are often given the form of animals. Rattles made of turkey and wild duck skulls have been found in escavations of prehistoric tombs, while dried toad animal tome filled with pebbles was previously used by North American Indians.

The material used for filling also varies. In cases, only the seeds of a particular plant are acceptable - in parts of Central Africa is the canna plant. More recently, plastic pellets or even lead pops have been used, giving a heavy sound to the instrument.

How Maracas work
The sound produced by the maraca is determined by the size of the instrument, the material of its construction, as well as the weight and size of the pellets it contains. A certain degree of tonality can be differentiated between organs, although maracas can hardly reach tonics that would be characterized in more detail, beyond "low" or "high".

The maracas are usuall played with a shaking of the hand forward, with the right hand generally leading and interpreting the powerful beats. During the performance, the performer often uses many instruments of different tonality, to add the element of variety to the rhythms of the music.