July 4th! Yaay! What’s With The 1812 Overture?

What do you think? The “1812 Overture” is a crowd pleaser, but it honors all the wrong things. Read this history of the piece and the Russia that inspired it and see if you agree.

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8 thoughts on “July 4th! Yaay! What’s With The 1812 Overture?

    • There used to be a comic strip called “Life With Father”. It featured an Irishman and his social climbing wife (Jiggs and Maggie). She tried to bring him into high society, making him attend operas and go to big social events, but he only wanted to drink beer at his local pub and eat corned beef and cabbage. Maggie, of course, thought beer drinking and eating corned beef and cabbage were lowlife activities!

  1. Thanks to teacH me . I heard https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VbxgYlcNxE8 and I read the Torrito’ s post ;
    I tend to agree with him .
    Why playing thIs overture celebbrating a defeat of France on the July 4 , Independane Day while in New York there will be the French frigate “l’ HERMIONE ” recalling the help of France to the Independance of the Americans . And Napoleon was French .
    In friendship
    Michel

    • It shows how tradition sometimes defies logic. The music is fine for a concert of light classical pieces, but there are plenty of patriotic tunes that better celebrate the American spirit.

    • You always have interesting and thoughtful blogs. This one was especially powerful for the historical background. I’ve often thought it “nice but not appropriate”, but your blog definitely outlined the precise reasons why. I felt it was one worth sharing. I don’t get blubbery about national holidays, but I do feel they should be observed in appropriate and thoughtful ways. Since the July 4th holiday celebrates a specific huge event in the national history, playing a piece of music (not matter how crowd pleasing and loud…!) celebrating a French military defeat that didn’t involve us just seems odd and ignorant.

    • I’m a bit of a purist when it comes to celebrating holidays. Memorial Day isn’t for stores to have sales or for people to go on picnics or to the beach, for example, but to honor the dead, particularly those who died in the armed forces. The July 4th holiday isn’t one to honor a French military defeat, so why play music that celebrates what is a glorious day in Russian history, perhaps, but didn’t involve the fledgling USA. I am not much fun when it comes to holidays! Andyway, toritto’s blog did a super job of outlining the history and inappropriateness of this piece of music for a holiday that should celebrate the American spirit and our good fortune on this continent.

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