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

Anton Bruckner - Introduction

Josef Anton Bruckner

A "poor man of god" was Anton Bruckner, who worshipped just as much as the divine and the human, whether it is found in music, in nature, or in the view of the supreme being. Meek, thoughtful, modest and incomparably sincere, he expressed his introversion and insecurity by leaning more and more into his musical writings and constantly revising his already masterful inspirations. 

If he had been bolder, more determined, perhaps he would have occupied Wagner's place in the history of music - he has been his idol since he met him - since Bruckner composed music of "Wagnerian" quality before... Wagner himself.

An amazing virtuoso in the performance of the organ, he crushed the faithful audiences both in Leeds and Vienna, as well as in Paris - in 1869 he performed at Notre Dame - and in London. If he had recorded his astonishing - according to written testimonies - improvisations on the organ, he would have submitted work for this instrument perhaps comparable to that of Johann Sebastian Bach.

Bruckner preferred, however, to serve the symphonic music wisely and devotionly, developing what Beethoven and Schubert had destroyed with their "wills". Despite their often extensive developments, his Symphonies feature marvelous combinations of intelligence, melodic ingenuity and orchestral magnificence.

(George Monemvasitis)