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

Bedřich Smetana - Libuše Overture

The beautiful Prague where Smetana came to study. He'd rather watch the concerts than go to school.

In 1848 liberal revolutions broke out throughout Europe. Most of them crashed, but their effect gave ordinary people an unprecedented pride in their national identity. This feeling was particularly strong in Bohemia, where the Czechs were for centuries under the rule of the Habsburgs, the monarchs of Austria.

This revival of patriotism was conveyed by Bedřich Smetana to the music of Libuše's three-act festival opera, which he wrote from 1869 to 1872. As Smetana was an excellent craftsman of the symphonic poem, his operas had freshness and dramatic intensity.

Although deeply influenced by Richard Wagner and Franz Liszt, he created a highly personal, sensational music that praised the spirit of the Czech people. The opera refers to the legendary events that led to the establishment of the first Royal Bohemian Přemyslid dynasty in the 13th century.

The opera was not just a stage work, but rather an epic destined to be presented in great festive occasions. "I regard this opera as my most perfect dramatic work," Smetana himself said of Libuše. Seventy years later, when the Nazis occupied Czechoslovakia during World War II, they realized that opera was still axing the patriotism of the Czechs and banned it.

The imposing fanfare of the trumpets, which resonates at the beginning of the Libuše Overture, invokes the legendary royal world which is also the theme of opera. However, the softer and more lyrical part of the flute and the oboe that follows, states that Libuše refers to both human passions and royal magnificence and heroic feats.

The orchestra picks up the lyrical theme from the woodwinds and develops it by adding new elements of royal grandeur, to return to a melancholy mood. The initial fanfare sounds distant before the dramatic return of the orchestra, announced by the rhythmic beat of the drums. This intensely patriotic and moving work ends with a serene note.