Published on January 10, 2016 by

Tchaikovsky was commissioned by Nicolas Rubinstein in 1880 to write a festive and patriotic piece to coincide with the Moscow Cathedral of the Savior(built to commemorate the liberation of the Russians from the 1812 Napoleonic invasion), there already existed a body of precedent for the use of brass band, church bells, and cannon together with symphony orchestra. Plans seems to indicate open-air performance in the great square before the Kremlin, with the cannon to be fired by electrical signal from the conductor’s desk, while at a given signal the bells of the new Cathedral, together with the hundreds of bells hung in all the other Kremlin churches and towers, were to add thier festive clamor to the whole grand uproar.
However,the Cathedral consecration took place in the summer 1881 minus Tchaikovsky’s music. It was Edward Napravnik who finally conducted the premiere of the Overture 1812 during ad all-Tchaikovsky concert at the Moscow Exhibition-presumably under normal concert hall conditions.


-Bronze Cannon(1775)Douay France, courtesy U.S.Military Academy,West Point,N.Y.

-Bells of the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial Carillon,The Riverside Church


Recorded on April 5,1958,in Northrop Auditorium,Minneapolis.


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