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

Chopin - Ballade No. 1 in G minor, Opus 23

The famous monument to Chopin, Parc Monceau, Paris.

The ballades of the Polish poet Adam Bernard Mickiewicz inspired Chopin to compose the four Ballades, each telling a musical story. The first, Opus 23, took four years to complete (1831-1835) and coincided with Chopin's arrival in Paris and his acceptance by the city's good society.

The poet Adam Bernard Mickiewicz.
Unlike most of Chopin's pianistic compositions, which focus on unexpected changes in mood and contrasts, Ballade No.1 in G minor has a narrative, almost epic quality. In this respect it is consistent with literary ballades, such as the epic 17th century poem, Faery Queen (Fairy Queen) by Edmond Spencer. Many regard Chopin's four piano ballads as the most mature and refined part of his wide-ranging work.

The introduction provides the backdrop, which is full of a sense of tragedy and premonition. This contrasts with the first melody that is both lyrical and simple. Observe the use of ceases and subtle qualms in melody, which characterize the dramaturgical techniques of storytelling. Sometimes the narrative emerges in an escalating cry, while others retreats into a quiet whisper.

The main melody recalls the erotic supplication of a knight trying to win the love of his beloved. His erotic suggestions begin politely, later becoming more passionate until the second theme introduces a more tender note. The knight becomes more confident as the music becomes more robust. But then the tragic mood returns as the knight attempts to exterminate his mortal rival in battle. As the music progresses we imagine him shaking and getting up again for a while only to find a tragic end in the hands of his ferocious opponent.