The One with the Cannons


Tchaikovsky’s 1812 overture is certainly one of the best known pieces of classical music of all time, yet interestingly the Russian composer never much cared for it himself.  Commissioned  for the 1882 Russian Arts and Industry Exhibition, Tchaikovsky complained that it would be "very loud and noisy, but without artistic merit, because I wrote it without warmth and without love."  Ironically, more than any other it is this composition which has subsequently sustained the Tchaikovsky estate as it is easily one of the most widely performed and recorded works from his opus.  Unsurprisingly we have several different copies of this immensely popular overture;

Firstly we have a fine interpretation by the London symphony orchestra conducted by Andre Previn.  This particular recording was released as part of the popular HMV ASD series and represents a good example of a first class orchestra and world famous conductor pulling out all the stops and going to town on a popular piece of music


If its cannons you want, however, then look no further. This Mercury Records recording of the 1812 is one of the best selling worldwide, and not without good reason.  Integrating the cannon and bells into the performance can be very tricky and has bedeviled many live performances of the overture, but this performance manages to pull it off with some aplomb.


For sheer noise, it’s hard to beat his particular recording by Telarc.  It is well known in audiophile circles not only for its high quality digital audiophile recording, but also because of the huge dynamic jumps it demands of your Hi-fi.  Indeed, I’ve heard it said that this record can easily blow your speakers if you play it too loud.


So, whatever your musical needs, we have n 1812 overture to suit you!


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