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

Rimsky-Korsakov - The Flight of the Bumblebee

This short music piece of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov was originally written as an add-on for the opera "The Tale of Tsar Saltan". The opera was first presented in Moscow in 1900 with a libretto based on a story by the great Russian poet Pushkin. The "Flight of the Bumblebee" accompanies a scene where the main character - a prince - transforms into a bumblebee.

The unusual nature and pure descriptive qualities of this piece, inspired other musicians to make their own adaptations, usually for solo instruments. The popularity of this piece is in contrast to the rest of the almost forgotten opera music.

A quick descending scale on the piano begins this perfect miniature portrait (in the adaptation for the piano). The opening measures o f the play serve not only as an introduction, but also set the stage - we hear the piano's attempts to mimic the buzz.

From this point, the piano paints a vivid picture of the insect that its flying reminds, as much as no other, of the days of summer.

In the orchestral version, as the play evolves, the melody emerges and sinks and returns to itself, growing in intensity as it moves to the upper limits of the string spectrum. Eventually, the melody climbs to scale, before plunging into a gentle closing pizzicato chord.