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

Ravel - Tzigane (Gypsy)

The hungarian violonist Jelly d'Aranyi

In 1922, Maurice Ravel was deeply impressed by the hungarian violonist Jelly d'Aranyi, when he heard him play the gypsy music of his homeland. The composer's interest in this style resulted in this workd for violin and piano - and later for orchestra - which he composed in 1924. The work contains many elements of gypsy music.

A long and complex solo segment on violin, begins this wonderful and unusual concerto rhapsody. The passionate play of the soloist, immediately takes us to old Hungary. The oriental scales with the strangeness for the western ear style, which so fascinated Ravel, dominate dearly here from the beginning.

Other features are the chords of the violin and a multitude of string techniques, which make up this wonderful concerto-style work.

A long trill leads to the second half of the play. At first we hear the harp that combines fiery grabs and glisanti with the violin trills. We alos hear the exotic string techniques. At one point, the soloist plays bows and pizzicati (with his left hand) at the same time.

The second half of the play is more "amiable", as the virtuoso part of the beginning is replaced by simpler melodies for the violin and the orchestra.