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

Georges Bizet - L' Arlésienne (The Girl from Arles), Suite No. 2

Front of the piano transcription of Bizet's L' Arlésienne.

This second suite was created after the death of Georges Bizet by Ernest Guiraud, one of his collaborators. Guiraud used three pieces from Bizet's original, which includes the famous Farandole, but curiously added Menuet from his almost forgotten opera, "The Fair Maid of Perth". It is a wonderful work, particularly beloved by the concert audience, although it does not attribute the drama of rural life of Provence as depicted in the original.


I. Pastorale

Pastorale is scenography at its best. The thunderous rhythm of the music, submits the image of the villagers returning from the fields in the midday heat. But there is also lyricism, in the wonderful melody reminiscent of bird chirping and which is introduced just before the pastoral theme is heard again.

II. Intermezzo

In Intermezzo the main melody is rendered by saxophone and horn, accompanied by the strings. It's music is simple and emotional. In the play, this music precedes the scene where Frédéri agrees to forget Arlésienne and marry the girl who loves him long ago.

III. Minuet

Menuet is a loan from Bizet's opera 1866 opera "The Fair Maid of Perth". Full of kindness and grace it is very popular, although it seems a little out of place in the passionate context of the music that surrounds it.

IV. Farandole

The famous Farandole is based on an old melody from Provence. Here, it incorporates the theme of the March of the Kings once again of Suite No. 1 and which is later woven and combined with Farandole. This lively music, full of cheer and life, is an ideal ending to this excellent work.