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

Gioachino Rossini - Semiramide


Gioachino Rossini

This is Gioachino Rossini's most serious operatic work since William Tell. It is an opera in two acts and it was first presented at Venice's La Fenice Theatre on February 3, 1823. The libretto by Gaetano Rossi is based on Voltaire's tragedy Semiramis, which in turn was based on the legend of Semiramis of Assyria.

The originality of the Overture is that it incorporates music from the opera, which strengthens the bond between the instrumental composition of the beginning and the drama that follows. 

The Overture starts with drum rolls and the music moves from pianissimo (very quiet) to fortissimo (very loud) in less than half a minute. A brief pause leads to a quiet, flowing melody presented by horns and bassoons. The previous fortissimo returns and then repeats the melody of the horn for a second time, but now in the woodwinds accompanied by decorative pizzicatti in harmonic chords of strings.

A sudden dramatic chord interrupts and begins the main part of the introduction. After another pizzicato, the inaugural music returns, followed by a light, ethereal melody of violins, which is developed by the entire orchestra. A string pizzicatti brings a second melody, played by clarinets and bassoons. A small climax leads to a short, later segment and a repetition of the two previous themes, before moving to a final vigorous escalation.