Time to hear everybody's fave 4th Jul tune 1812 Overture!

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Time to hear everybody's fave 4th Jul tune 1812 Overture!

Postby Malcom » Sat Jul 02, 2011 7:22 pm

This morning as one of Washington, DC's local news stations listed the various places to go to see fireworks locally, the background music was...the 1812 Overture. That's Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture, which is not to be confused by any others you might be familiar with.

In Charm City - the natal home of the Star Spangled Banner, Ft. McHenry and the rockets red glare - the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra like so many across the country, has taken this Russian tune about the defeat of Napoleon by Russia and its winter as the highlight of its annual Fourth of July concert. This year - the anniversary of OUR War of 1812 - is no different:

http://www.bsomusic.org/main.taf?p=1,1, ... ID=Oregon1

It makes you wonder if the City that Reads even listens as the lessons of all those events and seminars about the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 must have fallen on deaf ears. None of the lessons of the 200th anniversary done took, I guess.

There is no greater measure of the US's continuing cultural hegemony than the fact that the "1812 Overture" is now regarded by a huge percentage of folks as something to hear on the 4th of July, even though it has NOTHING to do with Our War of 1812! [My family were playing for the 'away' team that day, so I'm not taking sides]

Blame Arthur Fiedler of the Boston Pops for starting this movement. And our composers for not writing songs conducive to the use of real artillery in them. I've heard it performed twice: both outdoors with real cannon. Once on the mall in Washington near the Washington Monument and - most movingly - in September 1993 in Moscow's Red Square by Washington's National Symphony mere days before we heard the real thing when the army was called in to shoot up their parliament building known as 'the White House'.

Anyway, THIS is THE version of the overture to hear for two reasons: the first part of the overture is actually a traditional Russian hymn. In this version, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir gives this song a real jump start by singing that song. It's great. For you detail-oriented folks the hymn is a liturgical Orthodox Troparion of the Holy Cross [don't ask me what that is]. Here are the words for those wanting to sing along:

Mighty Lord, preserve us from jeopardy.
Take Thee now our faith and loud crying in penitence.
Grant victory o'er our treacherous and cruel enemies
And to our land bring peace.
O mighty Lord hear our lowly prayer,
And by Thy shining holy light.
Grant us, O Lord, peace again.
O mighty Lord hear our prayer
and save our people
Forever, forever!

The second reason this is THE version of the 1812 Overture is that when I was a Sweet Young Thing in college, one of my professors took me aside and said to me "Tracey, the three greatest symphony orchestras in the world are The Cleveland Symphony, The Vienna Symphony, and Eugene Ormandy's in Philadelphia." That's no longer the case, but it was when this recording was made.

Here it is on Youtube: Crank the speakers up to 11 and enjoy!!!

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