Talk:1812 Overture

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1812 Overture in Popular Culture[edit]

The overture also is used in the cartoon "Two Stupid Dogs", as part of a recurring gag. Red sings a part of the overture whenever she is to crash into something. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 77.173.226.152 (talk) 08:19, 20 August 2020 (UTC)

Patriotic American holidays[edit]

Why is this song played for patriotic American holidays? What do the Russians and French think of this?

I assume the main reason is that it's a rousing, martial piece in keeping with the holidays, not any particular affinity for Imperial Russia (although the US was neutral in regards to the Napoleonic wars, we were essentially on the side of the French by fighting Britain -- making our affection for the piece even more incongruous). Also, the cannon fire makes it really popular with kids, perfect for outdoors pops concerts. I'm sure that lots of people think it's a celebration of American victory, though. (Note that the British think they won because we failed to steal away Canada!) --Dhartung | Talk 23:25, 20 August 2005 (UTC)
Dhartung raises an interesting point... It is strange that Americans use such a rousing piece of music to celebrate a military defeat, rather than something more lamentous. In fact, it's unusual that they celebrate it at all! Does anyone know of any other cases where a nation celebrates their defeat in such a manner? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 81.107.182.109 (talk) 12:34, 27 October 2007 (UTC)

"In 1974, lamenting the declining audiences attending the Boston Pops concerts at the Hatch Memorial Shell on the picturesque Charles River Esplanade - a tradition dating back to 1929 - Boston businessman, David Mugar and the legendary Boston Pops conductor, Arthur Fiedler, hatched a plan to enliven the concert. The crowd responded so enthusiastically to the revitalized program, the pair made it an annual event. The enthusiasm was due in no small part to the concert's featuring the "1812 Overture." The musical program featured booming cannons, ringing church bells, patriotic sing-alongs, and a grand fireworks finale. The Boston event became the first to play the overture as part of a Fourth of July celebration. The innovation has since been duplicated in countless cities around the country." Copyright © Dave Lampson, 1996-9. from http://www.classical.net/music/comp.lst/works/tchaikov/1812.html Could someone more Wiki proficient add this to the main page, please? ----Burningchrome 22:01, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

The War of 1812 was by no means a defeat for the United States. Every grievance that they had was corrected (impressment of sailors by the Royal Navy, inability to trade neutrally with Europe, Indian raiders armed by the British, etc.) either directly or indirectly through the course of war, and the high material cost of the war has to be balanced with the surge of patriotism after the Battle of New Orleans and the subsequent "Era of Good Feelings". On the other hand, Britain was primarily involved in stopping Napoleon, did not gain anything from the War of 1812, and the only claim they have to victory is that the Americans did not succeed in annexing Canada, which was not a war goal. Chaparral2J (talk) 19:04, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

This is a bit of a sidetrack to the main article, but I think you'll find that annexing land was a war goal of the US campaign of 1812. They failed in that regard. I've never heard anyone claim the US won anything in the Anglo-American war of 1812 - the general consensus is status quo - but there are also strong arguments that the US were defeated as their primary aim (land grab) was thwarted. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 81.107.183.201 (talk) 12:47, 16 May 2009 (UTC)

Once again the point must be restated. America held New Orleans against the British. And the stagnation of the UK persisted (to this day), as the ascent of the US continued. As to Canada, yes, the US did not make territorial gains, but neither did Britain. And one must look past this time to see Americas continued growth in strength and size while Britain began to lose ground across the entire globe. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.95.241.57 (talk) 05:44, 17 May 2009 (UTC)

There is simply no way that the War of 1812 can be considered a US "defeat" -- the main problem facing Madison was that the Brits were interfering with US shipping in the Atlantic, which was the backbone of the early US economy. Check the wiki article for other reasons -- kidnapping US sailors, Brits siding with various native American nations, etc. Upon signing of the peace accords, those issues were resolved favorably for the US. Still, the Brits did torch the White House, so I guess the war can't be considered an unqualifed victory. I've always thought of it as more of a fight to tie up the loose ends from the Revolution, which it did.

I also disagree with this business of most Americans not knowing that the Overture was based on Napoleon's pyrrhic victory at Borodino. I grew up in rural Virginia and upon hearing it as a child, knew that it had to do with Napoleon and Moscow, but I admit I was little fuzzy as to why. The simple reason that it's so popular with US audiences (and everywhere else I bet) is that it's a sonic tour de force, perfect for family-oriented concerts, especially those big outdoor performances. IvyGold (talk) 22:05, 21 December 2009 (UTC)

"While this piece has little connection with United States history..." It would be more accurate to state that the piece has NO connection with US history. 24.69.71.254 (talk) 20:54, 24 March 2010 (UTC)

This has nothing to do with America. The USA has much to recommend it, but stealing a work of Tchaikovsky is an insult to European culture. Guv2006 (talk) 18:54, 15 May 2010 (UTC)

Tchaikovsky "stole" the French national anthem for part of this work. :) ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 19:03, 15 May 2010 (UTC)
The piece makes a deliberate quotation from La Marseillaise, for an obvious reason given the meaning of the piece. Only the ignorant would consider this "theft", it is not as if Tchaikovsky is pretending he wrote the French national anthem! And this has nothing to do with issue at hand here. 24.69.71.254 (talk) 03:58, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
Likewise, only the ignorant would consider it "theft" that Americans like to hear this tune on July 4th. Last I knew, the overture was in the public domain. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 04:04, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
Good grief, everyone! The Americans sing the Red Flag every Christmas... albeit to slightly different words. (Note the irony in my words...) Anyway, the piece is rousing and uplifting: exactly what you need for a day such as Independence Day. The coincidental fact that the Americans were fighting us Brits in 1812 is probably one reason that the piece is used; but I honestly think it is more to do with tradition and rousing the hearts of the Nation etc than some sort of weird analogy with Napoleon vs the Tzar --Jubileeclipman 04:17, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
I've heard that some foreign musicians like to play "The Stars and Stripes Forever", too, not because they necessarily love Americans, but because it's a great piece of music. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 04:29, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
I haven't heard any non-American musicians playing "The Stars and Stripes Forever", just some redneck American country singers when rabble rousing at Republican Party benefits, or in the lead up to an election. Maybe you could share a few links with us? Guv2006 (talk) 13:14, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
Baseball Bugs, I am not the one who made the claim that the USA "stole" a work of Tchaikovsky; I think that is that person's own problem. The issue is whether or not the piece has any connection with US history: it has none. It gets played on the 4th of July, all fine and dandy, but let's not pretend Tchaikovsky had the US in mind 24.69.71.254 (talk) 18:47, 18 May 2010 (UTC)

I don't have any "problem" if you are referring to me. I merely stated that Tchaikovsky's work ought not to be hijacked and used out of context by a country unconnected to Russia (and which for many decades has actually had an anti-Russian stance), when Tchaikovsky wrote it as a patriotic piece for his homeland. Guv2006 (talk) 13:14, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

Whether or not the Americans have "hijacked" this piece is irrelevant. The fact is that US bands play it on various important occasions and that fact is properly sourced and included in this article. Therefore this discussion has nothing whatsoever to do with the contents of this article and any changes that may or may not need to be made to it. Wikipedia:Talk page guidelines: "The purpose of a Wikipedia talk page (accessible via the discussion tab) is to provide space for editors to discuss changes to its associated article or project page. Article talk pages should not be used by editors as platforms for their personal views on a subject." If we are to continue talking about this, we need to go to the reference desk or off-Wiki really. Cheers --Jubileeclipman 00:53, 4 June 2010 (UTC)

Between all that talk going on regarding the 1812 War (USA), I really don't feel that there should be such large sections dedicated to the performances on July 4th in the US and so on. The piece is performed on various occasions all over the world and I think it's okay (citing the Wikipedia NPOV Guideline) to delete these sections. red (talk) 02:36, 20 August 2010 (UTC)

See also Talk:1812 Overture/Archive 1#Americo-centric lede. -- Jack of Oz ... speak! ... 09:40, 20 August 2010 (UTC)

Why do you refer to this as a "song" rather than a "piece", if it has no lyrics or vocals, Dhartung? Purely instrumental works should not be called "songs", but rather "pieces" --Fandelasketchup (talk) 19:36, 8 June 2018 (UTC)
Both the Marseillaise and the Great Russian Hymn are songs which have words. Just because the 1812 doesn't have lyrics doesn't detract from it being crafted out of two songs. You don't usually get up and dance to Strauss, but there's no denying it's still dance music. To say nothing of Mendelssohn's Songs Without Words Nuttyskin (talk) 21:09, 23 June 2018 (UTC)

Most used version[edit]

There seems to be one recording most used on TV and radio, one I've heard a thousand times (I know it's the same one I am remembering). It's the version used at the end of V for Vendetta [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C8fI-dGWT74&feature=related ] and has artificial bells and big drums for the cannons (rather than real cannon sounds). Does anyone know which recording this is? It would be notable given it's frequent referencing. 86.7.211.128 (talk) 01:32, 30 January 2010 (UTC)

Sound files[edit]

Is there any especially pressing reason for retaining the 43 seconds of Perschbacher's organ performance? On the one hand, the work is quite often arranged for organ and thus used by organists as a showpiece; on the other, there is no mention of this fact at all in the article (and the snippet hardly uses the most flashy nor even the most famous moment). Was the snippet included in lieu of a full orchestral version being included (much like MIDI files are often used where no legally available recording is available)? Personally, I would tend to exclude any arrangement of a work from its article unless there is a strong reason for retaining that arrangement. I would certainly also tend towards removing any "added sound sample" where someone has gone on to "add audio of the whole thing" thus appearing to make the first version superfluous. (I am aware, of course, that even the precise orchestral arrangement of "the whole thing"—with or without full choir and "real" cannons—is debatable and varies from performance to performance but that's for another day, perhaps.) Any one have any other thoughts on this? --Jubileeclipman 16:22, 9 May 2010 (UTC)

  • I should add that I was asked about this on my talkpage by Brambleclawx who also feels that the organ version could be removed though for slightly different reasons --Jubileeclipman 16:29, 9 May 2010 (UTC)
Jubilee's summed it up nicely, so I don't have much else to say. Brambleclawx 16:54, 9 May 2010 (UTC)

Dead link[edit]

During several automated bot runs the following external link was found to be unavailable. Please check if the link is in fact down and fix or remove it in that case!

--JeffGBot (talk) 22:34, 1 June 2011 (UTC)

Dead link 2[edit]

During several automated bot runs the following external link was found to be unavailable. Please check if the link is in fact down and fix or remove it in that case!

--JeffGBot (talk) 22:34, 1 June 2011 (UTC)

Changed link to point to an archive.org copy using archiveurl parameter. TheFeds 08:19, 20 August 2012 (UTC)

1812 Overture in Popular Culture[edit]

This would be a good classical piece to have a section showing its place in popular culture; I glanced over the article and only saw the reference to V for Vendetta, but it has been in plenty more movies and TV shows than just that one. The one that I remember best is a commercial for the Quaker cereals Puffed Wheat and Puffed Rice that showed cereal being shot from cannons; there was even a lyric in the commercial that was sung along with the piece: "This is the cereal that's shot from guns!" Shocking Blue (talk) 12:25, 20 August 2011 (UTC)

Late reply here, but what can you do about slow-moving articles. "In popular culture" sections have become frowned upon as a whole in Wikipedia. i kan reed (talk) 14:29, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
Yes, I agree. Another Vendetta addition edit just appeared - in the lead section. I can't believe that use of the music in films (if not in advertisements) is of no interest. Ken Russell's 1970 The Music Lovers immediately springs to mind: [1]. Martinevans123 (talk) 21:03, 7 January 2013 (UTC)

Different Antal Dorati recording[edit]

http://eil.com/shop/moreinfo.asp?catalogid=525136 Mercury records catalog SRI75142. "Performed by the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra and the University of Minnesota Brass Band conducted by Antal Dorati, this recording also features the Bells of the Harness Memorial Tower in Yale University, two 6 pound bronze cannon and a 12 pound howitzer" It also includes a recording of Wellington's Victory featuring "a brace of French muskets and cannon". No mention of a narration track and more firepower than a single shot dubbed in sixteen times. Bizzybody (talk) 05:54, 28 May 2012 (UTC)

Original Research and bald opinion[edit]

There are gobs of original research and opinions littered throughout the article. Some of them could possibly be cured by adding references, if there are any. I'll concentrate here on just one paragraph in the Musical Structure section, starting with a single, illustrative, fragment:

...the score calls for five Russian cannon shots confronting a boastfully repetitive fragment of La Marseillaise.

Oh, really? boastfully repetitive? This, and most of this entire paragraph was added in version 117039718 of 22 March 2007‎ 06:54, by user 70.224.78.161. I'm amazed that this has lasted six years with no challenge, as it is utterly unsubstantiated, as is most of the rest of the section. (There are two references, #5 and #6 at this writing, in that section, one of which is a link to some U of T Lecture slides that does give an analysis of the piece, but the claims made in the article are not substantiated by that reference. The other footnote is a music reference.)

This section, and others added by this author (and others) should be referenced, or thrown out:

Sixteen cannon shots are written into the score of the Overture. Beginning with the plaintive hymn “God Preserve Thy People,” the piece moves through a mixture of pastoral and militant themes portraying the increasing distress of the Russian people at the hands of the invading French. At the turning point of the invasion – the Battle of Borodino – the score calls for five Russian cannon shots confronting a boastfully repetitive fragment of the Marseillaise. A descending string passage represents the subsequent attrition of the French forces, followed by victory bells and a triumphant repetition of “God Preserve Thy People” as Moscow burns to deny winter quarters to the French. A musical chase scene appears, out of which emerges the anthem “God Save the Czar,” thundering with eleven more precisely scored shots. Logistics of safety and precision in placement of the shots – now as well as in 1880 -- require the use of sixteen pieces of muzzle loading artillery, since any reloading schemes to attain the sixteen shots or even a semblance of them in the two minute time span involved would yield neither safety nor precision. Time lag alone precludes implementation of cues for the shots.

Mathglot (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 19:14, 28 March 2013 (UTC)

Reliable source?[edit]

I'm not sure about www.Tchaikovsky-research.net. It says, "This on-going project is the product of collaboration of Tchaikovsky scholars and enthusiasts worldwide...." I'm going to remove it, because the scholars seem to be anonymous, and I am unenthusiastic about the enthusiasm of enthusiasts. But it's probably okay in the external links section.Anythingyouwant (talk) 20:16, 7 August 2013 (UTC)

How long is it?[edit]

How long is the overture? Are there "standard" shortenings? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 5.71.125.114 (talk) 23:04, 27 November 2013 (UTC)

The interactive version I had (which contained both the audio track and an interactive explanation of each section) was 15 minutes 25 seconds I think, or something like that. Close to 15 minutes 30 seconds. By "interactive explanation" I mean that it was actually a software program which explained each section while the music played on a player above the explanatory text window. --Fandelasketchup (talk) 18:40, 1 December 2018 (UTC)

Cincinatti Pops Recording[edit]

I believe the Cincinatti Pops (w/ Erich Kunzel) Recording deserves mention in this article. Not only because it is an extraordinary performance but also for the details. The 12" Vinyl print goes way beyond the specs in terms of dynamics. That virtually makes the recording the Benchmark piece for High-End Recordplayers and Stereos. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 78.53.11.142 (talk) 19:37, 27 August 2014 (UTC) It has also been remastered and printed on SACD and DVD-A 78.53.11.142 (talk) 19:40, 27 August 2014 (UTC)

Alas your personal preferences and beliefs have no weight here. If you could find a reliable source which agrees that this was "an extraordinary performance" and/or that the recording "goes way beyond the specs in terms of dynamics", there would be no question. Having said that, I don't see there would be any real problem in mentioning it in the "Recording history" section, if there is at least mention of it by a reliable third party, like a reviewer. Many similar articles have a section for "Notable performances/ recordings". I'm surprised there is not one here. Martinevans123 (talk) 20:56, 27 August 2014 (UTC)

Confronting a boastfully repetitive fragment?[edit]

What does this mean? After reading the comment section and seeing another editor has called the phrase out it still seems highly POV. I am substituting it for, "to counter a fragment of" If anyone feels differently can we at least discuss what "boastfully repetitive fragment" even means before reverting it back? Cheers! Xenomorph erotica (talk) 16:57, 28 November 2014 (UTC)

Adding the US Independence Day[edit]

Hi all. this was me. I've read the past discussion and some have decried any mention at all of the 1812's use in the 4th of July as American-centric, but V for Vendetta isn't far more oddly impertinent than that? I find it baffling that 1812's role in V for Vendetta is mentioned but that its most popular association among the majority of the English-speaking world is not. The whole reason it's used in V for Vendetta is that the connotative meaning of the Overture has been somewhat usurped to a message of freedom over ostensibly unfair tyranny.

It's not as if there's any shortage of sources attesting to the notability of the 1812 Overture's use as a 4th of July hymn. I just pulled the first three sources on a google search that looked reasonable. I'm expecting to hear the same people responsible for keeping this off the article objecting to my addition here, so if you have objections, please discuss. Thank you.--Louiedog (talk) 04:42, 4 July 2015 (UTC)

I've never heard of its association with 4 July. But then, I'm not an American. Nuttyskin (talk) 21:00, 23 June 2018 (UTC)

DRM/Copyright Free Recording[edit]

I have a copy of the performance of the 1812 Overture, with actual cannon, performed by the United States Military Academy Band at West Point. Choral parts were sung by the US Army Chorus, in the original Russian. The recording was made by the Band, live as performed (I attended the performance), and hence includes crowd noise and applause at the end.

Is this something that would enhance this page? If so, I would be happy to upload it.

Also, perhaps a section should be included in the main page that lists periodic public performances of this piece. I believe the Boston Pops does it every 4th of July. The West Point Band does it every Labor Day weekend. I am certain those are not the only two performances. It would be useful to list if cannon are used or not. BTCG 16:34, 29 December 2015 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by BTCG (talkcontribs)

Significance to audiophiles[edit]

Because of the huge disparity in volume between cannons and cellos (and other orchestral instruments), the live reproduction of Tchaikovsky's written score can result in some of the greatest dynamic range (difference between the loudest and softest sounds) of any live music - even more so than the rock family of genres, which are well known for ear-damaging sound pressure levels. But for recording technicians and audio enthusiasts, the attraction to the 1812 Overture is capturing and reproducing a recording of a live performance, and specifically maintaining the highest level of dynamism possible considering the limitations of a given recording and reproduction technology. In fact, a particular recording by Telarc Records to LP (Long Play) is well known amongst audiophiles as the test of the entire playback chain from phonograph stylus to speakers. An example of audio enthusiasts discussing the abilities of various high-end products to reproduce with fidelity is posted here: http://forums.stevehoffman.tv/threads/the-telarc-1812-test.477436/ An interview with Stan Ricker describing the unique technique required to master such enormous dynamic range is found here (search for 1812): http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue2/ricker2.htm The grooves carved into the vinyl by the SPLs (Sound Pressure Levels) of cannon explosions deviate so wildly from that of a typical classical orchestra that the spacing between tracks must be increased inordinately. This not only results in a more rapid depletion of the space available on an LP, but also in grooves that can be easily discerned from the surrounding untouched vinyl by the unaided eye as in this photo: https://www.flickr.com/photos/41002268@N03/5903358408 — Preceding unsigned comment added by Noiseiron (talkcontribs) 20:37, 7 September 2016 (UTC)

In about the 1980s-early 90s, there was a recording using electronic cannon, which I found most impressive, even compared to a live performance with real cannon, which I have heard. It seems to me the uniqueness of this recording would give it notability. So far I haven't been able to track it down. Anyone recall it?D Anthony Patriarche (talk) 22:36, 20 August 2017 (UTC)

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I'm confused....[edit]

How come this article contains the full audio of the concerned piece as opposed to just a 30-second sample from it? Wasn't it made clear that audio clips should be no more than 30 seconds long? --Fandelasketchup (talk) 19:31, 8 June 2018 (UTC)

@Fandelasketchup:: The 30-second rule has to do with copyright. The idea being that having a longer sample would be a violation. However, this work is in the public domain and so the restriction doesn't apply. Sorry for the delay in response. ~~Ebe123~~ → report 19:24, 11 November 2018 (UTC)
Are all versions, by all orchestras, since orchestral recordings began, fully in the public domain? Thanks. Martinevans123 (talk) 19:29, 11 November 2018 (UTC)
Yes, they are, Martinevans123, since the DMCA (the current US copyright law) was created in 1976 and this piece, as its title suggests, was written in 1812. --Fandelasketchup (talk) 00:07, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
There is a separate copyright for the music and for the recording of a performance of that music. While the music is public domain, recordings would by default be subject to copyright. This recording indicates that the performers have released it into the public domain.--Trystan (talk) 01:07, 16 November 2018 (UTC)

No time to reload cannons?[edit]

I have to wonder as to this assertion that 16 cannon, preloaded, must be used, there being no time to reload cannons.

Back in the days of muzzle-loading cannon, naval (and other?) salutes were fired at 5 second intervals between shots. Often two cannon could be used, alternating rounds.

Indeed, special saluting cannon of small-bore were developed to facilitate the process. And for ceremonial use survived well past the introduction of breech-loading artillery.

The use of carbide cannon or some aerosol propellant (e.g. hair spray) fueled cannon would also alter this consideration. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Mds1110 (talkcontribs) 06:23, 23 July 2019 (UTC)

Oveture to what?[edit]

That's what I want to know. Why is this piece called an overture? Is it common for composers to write overtures that are not followed by a full performance? Is it meant to be an 'overture' to the celebrations? — Preceding unsigned comment added by A. Christopher (talkcontribs) 19:21, 13 November 2019 (UTC)

I would have sworn that this article addressed that question, that it's a free-standing piece and not a preview or a collection of themes. Maybe this was edited. Or maybe I'm a doofus!!! PurpleChez (talk) 21:13, 26 November 2019 (UTC)

West Point[edit]

I once heard a bit on public radio about the recording made at West Point. The folks at the record company were initially very sheepish about approaching the commandant about something so seemingly far-removed from military matters as an orchestral recording -- but it turned out that he was thrilled to have an excuse to fire the cannon (which they had a museum piece) and was an enthusiastic participant in the process. I'll see if I can verify.PurpleChez (talk) 21:17, 26 November 2019 (UTC)

Commemorating the successful Russian defense against Napoleon's Army[edit]

In the opening paragraph makes the following claim with no citation to follow.

Year 1812 Solemn Overture, Op. 49, popularly known as the 1812 Overture, is a concert overture in E♭ major written in 1880 by Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky to commemorate the successful Russian defense against Napoleon's invading Grande Armée in 1812.

After some cursory research, I wasn't able to find a reputable source that validates this claim. Should it be removed? Ceryliae (talk) 19:27, 18 October 2020 (UTC)