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 - Events in brief

Maurice Ravel conducting the orchester, probably at London's Queen's hall on April 14th, 1923.

1875  Maurice Ravel was born on March 7 in Cibourne, near the French-Spanish border.
1889  Became a student at the Conservatory of Paris.
1895  He writes the first major works, Habanera and Menuet antique (first published work).
1905  Fails for the fourth time to win the Grand Prize of Rome.
1909  Completes his first opera, "The Spanish Hour".
1912  Completes his first ballet, "Daphnis et Chloe".
1915  Enlisted as a guide in the French army.
1917  His mother dies.
1925  Completes the opera "The Child and the Spells".
1928  First tour of the United States, composes "Bolero".
1932  Car accident interrupts his synthetic activity.
1937  Dies on December 28 in Paris after brain surgery.

  • Because of Ravel's almost ideological attachment to the detail of the composition, Russian composer Igor Stravinsky called him "the most perfect of Swiss Watchmakers"
  • Ravel was at the center of a pioneering group of musicians and writers called Les Apaches. The name is due to a newspaperman who met the group on a Paris street and was surprised by their eccentric appearance.