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

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov - Introduction

He renounced the glory, confidence and adventure guaranteed by the career of the naval officer, Nikolai Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov, and was thrown into the adventure of music without hesitation. As an amateur and self-taught musician, the aristocrat started from Tikhvin to settle down as a conscientious professional. He enjoyed every honor that any of his peers would dream of, becoming the most popular, after Tchaikovsky, composer of 19th century Russia.

A member of the famous group of "Five", Rimsky-Korsakov, after his first transcendence and the change of his professional course, had to fight with the academicism and lack of self-confidence that were alive nourished by the sense of non-existent musical education. When he overcame any inhibitions - his love for music helped him a lot - and gained the confidence of musical discourse, he was easily able to exploit his innate gifts.

A master of orchestration and an imaginative creator, he produced a rich musical work in which all the requested components of the place and the era were included.

Although he was a worthy and devoted servant of the Russian National Music School, he did not imprison his imagination in the narrow confines of the fatherland, but he complemented the color scale of the sonic traces with melodic sighs of the East ("Scheherazade") and with rhythmic rituals of the West ("Spanish Capricio").

However, he assimilated with exemplary delicacy every imported or domestic folk sound, so that every phrase of his music screams first the personality of the composer and then its national origin.

(George V. Monemvasitis)