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

Franz Liszt - Hungarian Rhapsody No.14 (Fantasia on Hungarian Folk Melodies)

Portrait of Franz Liszt with
Hungarian national costume.
In 1852, while living in Weimar, Franz Liszt developed one of the Hungarian Rhapsodies he had composed for piano, into the Hungarian Fantasy for piano and orchestra. The folk music that Liszt uses here is actually more influenced by Gypsy music than by the dances and songs of the Mayars, which are the real music of his native country Hungary.

The full title of Liszt's Hungarian Fantasy, Fantasia on Hungarian Folk Melodies, is rather incorrect. Almost all of the themes Liszt uses come from the gypsy orchestras he listened to in Vienna, but these musicians often played melodies adapted by other composers. Liszt knew little about the music of the Mayars, the tribe that had travelled from Asia in the old days to eventually settle in Hungary.

Those who revealed the ancient songs and dances of the Mayars as the true national Hungarian music were two composers younger than Liszt, Bella Bartok and Zoltan Kontoyi.

Nevertheless, Liszt offered a lot by focusing attention on the richness of popular music, highlighting the momentum, color and emotion of this folk music in his work and especially in this Fantasia.

The music begins in a melancholy mood, with the horns and bassoons playing in a minor tone. The melody is a adaptation of a Hungarian folk song "Mohac's Field".

After a few virtuoso passages, piano and orchestra again present the purpose, this time in a major tone. Some gypsy-style melodies appear with an additional reference to the opening tune. A quiet inoculated (interlude) prepares the most exciting theme - piano and orchestra gallop towards the end, with a final reminder of the original melody of the Hungarian folk song "Mohac's Field".