Though far from Tchaikovsky
's most important or impressive work, the "1812 Overture
" is undoubtedly his best known piece. Tchaikovsky himself didn't feel much enthusiasm for the work while he was composing it, and if it wasn't for a lucrative commission for a ceremonial overture to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Russia
's victory over Napoleon
in 1812, it's unlikely that he would have tackled the project at all.
managed to compose the overture in a little over a month in the fall of 1880. He himself described it in his journals as "very loud and noisy
." The commision came from the Russian government, as a piece in the 1882 Moscow Exhibition
, and specifically to mark the consecration of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior
, itself erected to give thanks for the Russian victory during the Napoleonic Wars
. The premiere was duly given on August 20, 1882 and was an immediate success. It was subsequently published as his Op. 49
and has enjoyed popularity and success the world over in the century following.
This was a quickie homework assignment in my senior year Music History class. I dug it out and thought it might be informative. I believe I used my Houghton-Mifflin 'Music Through the Ages' textbook.