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How a rousing Russian tune took over our July 4th
Pittsburgh Post Gazette ^ | 7/4/2003 | Andrew Druckenbrod

Posted on 07/05/2013 10:49:35 AM PDT by Borges

Cookouts, fireworks and the "1812 Overture." On the Fourth of July, we hold these truths to be self-evidently American, right?

Don't light the cannon fuses just yet.

The "1812 Overture" may be an American tradition, with its patriotic strains and thunderous battery. But while orchestras across the land, including the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra tonight at Point State Park, will perform it with clanging bells and cannon fire, the music could hardly be any more distant from the Stars and Stripes.

That's because the overture, written by famed composer Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, depicts Napoleon's retreat from Russia in 1812, not America's battles against the British, as many might think.

(Excerpt) Read more at old.post-gazette.com ...


TOPICS: Music/Entertainment
KEYWORDS: 1812; 1812overture; classicalmusic; napoleon; russia; tchaikovsky
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Ten year old article but still relevant.
1 posted on 07/05/2013 10:49:35 AM PDT by Borges
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To: .30Carbine; 1cewolf; 1rudeboy; 31R1O; ADemocratNoMore; afraidfortherepublic; alarm rider; ...

Classical Ping


2 posted on 07/05/2013 10:51:22 AM PDT by Borges
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To: Borges

Cuz it’s got cannons in it. That’s why. :-)

Cannons don’t usually get to do a solo with orchestra.


3 posted on 07/05/2013 10:52:13 AM PDT by Ramius (Personally, I give us one chance in three. More tea anyone?)
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To: Ramius

I have a fevah and the only prescription is more cannon.


4 posted on 07/05/2013 10:57:45 AM PDT by DManA
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To: Borges

I always thought it was for the so-called War of 1812, which is now 200 years past and just as appropriate. Big fan of the Rev, but we need to pay more heed to the 2nd war for independence, too. And Baltimore’s defense against the invading Brits is nothing less than astounding. There really should be a celebration for that.


5 posted on 07/05/2013 10:58:38 AM PDT by the OlLine Rebel (Common sense is an uncommon virtue./Technological progress cannot be legislated.)
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To: Ramius

Big whoop.
PDQ Bach uses canons, guns,whistles,vacuum cleaners....


6 posted on 07/05/2013 10:59:13 AM PDT by mylife (Ted Cruz understands the law, and he does not fear the unlawful.)
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To: Borges
Did the media do a “memory hole” thing again? I’ve never heard of the 1812 Overture being associated with the 4th of July.
7 posted on 07/05/2013 10:59:42 AM PDT by Olog-hai
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To: Borges

They play it because it’s fun and loud and what more appropriate day to play something fun and loud.

I’m all for exposing more of the masses to classical music by any means possible, so this is good by me.


8 posted on 07/05/2013 10:59:43 AM PDT by arbitrary.squid
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To: Olog-hai

I haven’t either. Maybe in Pittsburgh. Now, “Stars And Stripes Forever,” yeah, that one is muscle memory by now.


9 posted on 07/05/2013 11:02:05 AM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: DManA

It not only has cannons it has real big cow bells! What could better than that? More cow bell? You got it!


10 posted on 07/05/2013 11:02:27 AM PDT by mc5cents (Pray for America)
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To: arbitrary.squid

I’m with you. This is looking for an issue where this isn’t one. From the title, you would have thought it was the Soviet national anthem being played.


11 posted on 07/05/2013 11:02:55 AM PDT by Dahoser (Separation of church and state? No, we need separation of media and state.)
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To: Borges
Borodin's "Prince Igor" Overture sounds like the soundtrack for a 1940's Western. At least once it gets to the allegro.

For Independence Day I think we should make Rhapsody in Blue the traditional 4th finale.

12 posted on 07/05/2013 11:05:10 AM PDT by Sirius Lee (All that is required for evil to advance is for government to do "something")
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To: Borges
It may be relevant to point out that "Russian" does not equate to "Soviet". Seventy plus years of despising, with good reason, the Soviet Evil Empire and the gang of homicidal thugs who ran the country for the better part of the twentieth century sometimes puts a stigma on anything Russian. Even the brilliant music of 19th century composers like Tchaikovsky.

Besides, other than the Star Spangled Banner what piece of music goes so well with the sound of cannon fire?

13 posted on 07/05/2013 11:07:22 AM PDT by katana (Just my opinions)
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To: mylife

And Spike Jones used that an more! :-)


14 posted on 07/05/2013 11:07:55 AM PDT by mc5cents (Pray for America)
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To: Olog-hai

The 1812 is played on Fourth celebrations by the Chicago Symphony and the Boston Pops among many others.


15 posted on 07/05/2013 11:10:10 AM PDT by Borges
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To: Borges
That’s interesting. How long have they done it, collectively speaking? The piece of music in question just is never part of my 4th; many others are, and those being US-themed.
16 posted on 07/05/2013 11:16:42 AM PDT by Olog-hai
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To: Olog-hai

As long as I can remember. The article suggests it really got going in the 1970s.

http://www.latinospost.com/articles/22845/20130704/4h-july-2013-boston-pops-fireworks-spectacular-concert-events-time.htm


17 posted on 07/05/2013 11:19:20 AM PDT by Borges
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To: Borges
The 1812 Overture celebrates the expulsion of a foreign invader from the homeland. That makes it a very good piece of music.
18 posted on 07/05/2013 11:19:44 AM PDT by reg45 (Barack 0bama: Implementing class warfare by having no class.)
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To: Borges

What a scenario......Obamas leaving office for the last time and the Army or Marine Corps band breaks out with the 1812 Overture.


19 posted on 07/05/2013 11:27:51 AM PDT by kenmcg (scapegoat)
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To: katana

In 1916 The USA entered into production of 3.3 million rifles for Russia.
We were not always enemy’s to be sure.


20 posted on 07/05/2013 11:34:30 AM PDT by mylife (Ted Cruz understands the law, and he does not fear the unlawful.)
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To: the OlLine Rebel

Well, sort of: from a geopolitical stand point, the War of 1812 was part of the Napoleonic Wars. Of course, having chosen to fight Britain rather than France over the impressment of American sailors (they were both doing it), we were effectively on the same side as France against Britain, Russia, and Austria, so it’s an odd choice for American patriotic celebrations, as it commemorates Napoleon’s defeat.

Of course there is a good excuse for playing Tsarist patriotic music on 4 July: 4 July is the Feast of the Royal-Passion Bearers of Russia, commemorating Nicholas II, Alexandra and the members of their family and household murdered by the Bolsheviks.


21 posted on 07/05/2013 11:41:19 AM PDT by The_Reader_David (And when they behead your own people in the wars which are to come, then you will know...)
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FReepers!

FR is funded solely by the freedom loving folks
who love and use it.

WE are Free Republic!!! All of us!!!
Please Contribute Today!

22 posted on 07/05/2013 11:45:08 AM PDT by RedMDer (When immigrants cannot or will not assimilate, its really just an invasion. Throw them out!)
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To: Borges

For once, an answer to a question that I have been asking about for years! Glad to read it and a reason to continue enjoying the “Cannon’s Roar!”


23 posted on 07/05/2013 11:46:10 AM PDT by SES1066 (Government governs best when it governs least!)
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To: Olog-hai

***I’ve never heard of the 1812 Overture being associated with the 4th of July. ****

I remember it being used in an advertisement for puffed wheat or rice years ago.


24 posted on 07/05/2013 11:46:20 AM PDT by Ruy Dias de Bivar (Sometimes you need 7+ more ammo. LOTS MORE.)
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To: Olog-hai

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra has been playing the 1812 Overture for July 4 fireworks for as long as I can remember (I’m 55).

That is its only association with July 4 that I know of, and apparently (from reading this thread) it’s not just a Baltimore thing.


25 posted on 07/05/2013 11:48:44 AM PDT by dmz
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To: Borges

We like the 1812 Overture because it is loud.


26 posted on 07/05/2013 11:49:12 AM PDT by Mike Darancette (Fight the culture of nothing.)
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To: Ramius
Cuz it’s got cannons in it. That’s why. :-)

The better versions have massed choirs and carillons too.

27 posted on 07/05/2013 11:52:08 AM PDT by Mike Darancette (Fight the culture of nothing.)
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To: Borges

Americans like the 1812 overture on the 4th of July because the composition puts to pure music, without words, the imagery of the scenes sung about in the Star Spangled Banner.

“the twighlight’s last gleaming”

“the dawn’s early light”

“the perilous fight”

“the rockets red glare”

“the bombs bursting in air”

“And [the] “our” [star-spangled] banner in triumph shall wave”

It matters not - to most of us - that the Russian composer wrote the composition in homage to the Russians expelling Napoleon. Without words it “sings” a tune of any great heroic battle, whether our revolutionary battles or others.

Cultural ICONs have a life of their own divorced from their originators; even if just borrowed or adopted by those they speak to in some way.

Maybe in a 100 years, the 1812 Overture will be known globally as “that symphony music Americans play on their Independence Day” more than as “Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture”. Who cares?


28 posted on 07/05/2013 11:55:07 AM PDT by Wuli (qu)
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To: Olog-hai

“Did the media do a “memory hole” thing again?”

They always do. The media likes to say how the Revolution was about the USA fighting to be independent from Britain and they portray the war as if Britain was an occupier.

Britain was NOT an occupier. THIS was Britain!

The war did not start out as a war for independence. The British in their history books get this one right: The war started out as an uprising by British subjects AGAINST THEIR OWN GOVERNMENT which had become tyrannical.

See, the liberal media doesn’t want anyone getting it in their heads that people should overthrow their own government when it gets tyrannical. If so, then we’re overdue for a revolution right now.


29 posted on 07/05/2013 12:03:34 PM PDT by MeganC (A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and don't have one, you'll never need one again.)
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To: Wuli

It’s also kept the piece alive. Classical connoisseurs hold the piece in very low regard as pure music.


30 posted on 07/05/2013 12:05:40 PM PDT by Borges
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To: Borges

They play it because it’s fun and loud and what more appropriate day to play something fun and loud.

I’m all for exposing more of the masses to classical music by any means possible, so this is good by me.


31 posted on 07/05/2013 12:08:23 PM PDT by arbitrary.squid
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To: Borges
"With the exception of 'America the Beautiful,' the U.S. is short of patriotic hymns," says Botstein. "'The Star-Spangled Banner' is a tongue-twister; then you have 'America,' which is really the British national anthem.

I can think of quite a few patriotic hymns:

Even the Communists have a patriotic hymn:


32 posted on 07/05/2013 12:18:24 PM PDT by Fiji Hill
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To: Borges

“It’s also kept the piece alive. Classical connoisseurs hold the piece in very low regard as pure music.”

I know.

And there are many pieces of high priced “fine art” hanging on the walls of galleries and private homes that most people consider junk.

Do we care? No. Do they care what the art experts think? No.

Or, like us technophobes that just love some piece of now obsolete technology that never quite took hold, because it was such a brilliant design, from a technology or engineers viewpoint. It matters only in the history books. We like it; it was brilliant and yet most everyone ignore it, forgot it or never heard of it. No big deal; it’s the way life is.


33 posted on 07/05/2013 12:27:25 PM PDT by Wuli (qu)
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To: Borges
The "1812 Overture" premiered in 1882 at the consecration of a church in Moscow...

The church in question was the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, one of the world's largest houses of worship. In 1931, Joseph Stalin ordered it destroyed to make room for a "Palace of the Soviets," which was never built. You can watch a film of its destruction here

After the Soviet Union fell, the cathedral was rebuilt, with modern facilities such as air conditioning, elevators, telecommunication facilities and underground parking. It reopened in 2000.

34 posted on 07/05/2013 12:30:27 PM PDT by Fiji Hill
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To: katana

Bump!


35 posted on 07/05/2013 12:41:36 PM PDT by Jagdgewehr (It will take blood.)
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To: Sirius Lee
The irs seems to have a soft spot for Borodin. I was on hold, humming along with the music. Then I realized it was a Polovtsian Dance - can't recall the number - the one in which slave girls are singing about their native land.

on the wings of gentle zephyrs,
seek thou o tender song
my native country

36 posted on 07/05/2013 12:43:30 PM PDT by kitchen (Make plans and prepare. You'll never have trouble if you're ready for it. - TR)
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To: Borges

Its best when accompanied by howitzers.


37 posted on 07/05/2013 1:04:55 PM PDT by wonkowasright (Wonko from outside the asylum)
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To: The_Reader_David

Our war with Britain was NEVER a Napoleonic war, and there was more to it than just the impressment of seamen. In fact, Brits still get unctuous about how dare we bother them with ANOTHER war when we Americans knew darn well they were already occupied! LOL. IOW, we have to wait until they are unoccupied.

Of course pretty early I learned the piece was about Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow. But I still like it for OUR 1812 purposes, even if in my mind it meshes best with events in 1814.


38 posted on 07/05/2013 1:13:29 PM PDT by the OlLine Rebel (Common sense is an uncommon virtue./Technological progress cannot be legislated.)
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To: Sirius Lee
For Independence Day I think we should make Rhapsody in Blue the traditional 4th finale.

Hmm. Where do we put the cannon in the arrangement?

39 posted on 07/05/2013 1:15:06 PM PDT by no-s (when democracy is displaced by tyranny, the armed citizen still gets to vote)
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To: Wuli

Yet the anthem is specifically tailored from exactly the event I best associate with the overture - battle of Baltimore form the “war of 1812”!

I could but never really put the piece together with the Rev.


40 posted on 07/05/2013 1:16:35 PM PDT by the OlLine Rebel (Common sense is an uncommon virtue./Technological progress cannot be legislated.)
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To: Ramius
Cuz it’s got cannons in it. That’s why. :-)

I'll go with that. :)

HTB like big booms!

41 posted on 07/05/2013 1:20:01 PM PDT by Harmless Teddy Bear (Revenge is a dish best served with pinto beans and muffins)
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To: MeganC

Try that on any Civil War thread that comes up. You would not believe the contortions of logic the Yankees went through last time I was on 1 about this. How dare I suggest “Ameicans” were actually British subjects and thus, rebels! I was even accused of being pro-British because i knew these facts, funny coming at someone who knows and loves the RevWar pretty well and loves the rebels as the greatest generation.


42 posted on 07/05/2013 1:24:05 PM PDT by the OlLine Rebel (Common sense is an uncommon virtue./Technological progress cannot be legislated.)
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To: the OlLine Rebel

I guess what it is is that too many people are willing to believe what the government schools tell them to believe.


43 posted on 07/05/2013 1:27:27 PM PDT by MeganC (A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and don't have one, you'll never need one again.)
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To: MeganC

Back in my day, public school wasn’t perfect but I never got the wrong impression. I just comprehended it better than others, maybe. I also had a mother who adored the Founders and possibly kept me on the straight track better than most schools would.

On a slight tangent, I’ll never forget in HS a boy answering teacher’s question, about the Korean War, comparing Korea to Civil War US, “but this time the South was the good guy”. Rolling eyes. ;-)


44 posted on 07/05/2013 1:41:05 PM PDT by the OlLine Rebel (Common sense is an uncommon virtue./Technological progress cannot be legislated.)
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To: the OlLine Rebel

With regards to the impolite interstate relations in the US (1861-1865) I don’t call the North or the South the ‘bad guy’.

The Southern states had valid reasons for wanting to leave the Union and the greedy, selfish, imperialistic Yankees thought they had valid reasons for not letting them leave.

See? I can be perfectly unbiased in my historical assessment!


45 posted on 07/05/2013 1:48:28 PM PDT by MeganC (A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and don't have one, you'll never need one again.)
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To: MeganC

Wouldn’t want to offend a Northern sympathizer. ;-). Just making a point about what you can hear in PS. The boy was given no doubt he was right, though.


46 posted on 07/05/2013 1:56:25 PM PDT by the OlLine Rebel (Common sense is an uncommon virtue./Technological progress cannot be legislated.)
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To: Ruy Dias de Bivar
I remember it being used in an advertisement for puffed wheat or rice years ago.

Wow. I remember too. That was over 40 years ago.

47 posted on 07/05/2013 2:56:34 PM PDT by EveningStar ("What color is the sky in your world?" -- Frasier Crane)
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To: Borges
As I mentioned on another thread, "Hymn to Red October," a pseudo-Soviet patriotic song, can easily be interpreted as an American patriotic song--the lines about how "in October," our forefathers "reported our victories" and "gave us a new world" could refer to Washington's victory at Yorktown in October, 1781.

Hymn to Red October--Nssil K. Poledouris (1989)

48 posted on 07/05/2013 6:45:26 PM PDT by Fiji Hill
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To: Fiji Hill; Borges
FiJi Hill referring to the dedication ceremony for "1812 Overture":
"The church in question was the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, one of the world's largest houses of worship.
In 1931, Joseph Stalin ordered it destroyed..."

Destroyed by Stalin in 1931:

Today rebuilt:

49 posted on 07/06/2013 6:18:35 AM PDT by BroJoeK (a little historical perspective....)
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To: MeganC; the OlLine Rebel
MeganC: "Britain was NOT an occupier.
THIS was Britain!"

That's ridiculous, and you know it -- or should know it, FRiend.

In fact, the American colonies were just that: colonies.
Yes, they wanted all the rights of Englishmen, most notably: "no taxation without representation", but that was just what Britain's king and parliament refused to grant.

Instead, Brits insisted on treating Americans like their other colonies, on a par with (horrors!) the Irish!

So, after years of suffering, of negotiations with, and hostile military actions from Britain, Americans had enough...

MeganC: "The war did not start out as a war for independence.
The British in their history books get this one right:
The war started out as an uprising by British subjects AGAINST THEIR OWN GOVERNMENT which had become tyrannical."

In fact, the war started in 1775 when Brits assaulted Americans as punishment for our "misbehavior", notably at Lexington and Concord.

But more to your point, from their beginnings (i.e., 1619), Americans had elected their own local governments, and by 1774 in response to British Intolerable Acts: the First Continental Congress.
The American Continental Congress petitioned the British King for a redress of grievances, and when that had no effect, took sterner measures.

So, it is precisely that distinction -- between "just government" (which Britain never was) and "tyranny" (which Britain had long been) -- on which the American Declaration of Independence and Revolutionary War hinges.

50 posted on 07/06/2013 6:59:58 AM PDT by BroJoeK (a little historical perspective....)
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