Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture

August 20, 1882 – Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture debuts in Moscow, Russia.

The Year 1812, the festival overture in Eb major, Op. 49, popularly known as the 1812 Overture, is an overture written in 1880 by Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky to commemorate Russia’s defense of its motherland against Napoleon’s invading Grande Armee in 1812.

The overture was conducted by Ippolit Al’atani under a tent near the then-unfinished Cathedral of Christ the Savior, which also memorialized the 1812 defense of Russia.  The overture was also conducted by Tchaikovsky himself in 1891 at the dedication of Carnegie Hall in New York City.  The overture is best known for its climactic volley of cannon fire, ringing chimes, and brass fanfare finale. It has also become a common accompaniment to fireworks displays at outdoor concerts throughout the world. The 1812 Overture went on to become one of Tchaikovsky’s most popular works.

In 1940, Russia issued a 2-stamp set (Scott Nos. 790 & 791) with 20-kopek and 30-kopek values, portraying composer Tchaikovsky.

 

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