Mozart's Attic - Thursday, June 2nd 10:00 pm
In 1880, someone suggested to Tchaikovsky that he write a piece of music to celebrate the upcoming 25th anniversary of the coronation of Alexander II.
Staying on the good side of the Czar was always a good idea, and Tchaikovsky wrote a festival overture to be performed in front of the new Moscow cathedral, then nearing completion. The Czar was assassinated, the concert cancelled, and the score went into a box for a couple of years until another suitable occasion came around.
Tchaikovsky didn’t hold the1812 Overture in very high regard, considering it a piece of fluff, but this commemoration of Napoleon’s defeat at the approach to Moscow soon became his most popular work. Indeed it’s one of the most popular works in all of classical music.
We begin this week’s program with the 1812, and then we look at yet another battle in which invaders came to grief marching on Russia: Sergei Prokofiev’s film score marking the victory of Alexander Nevsky against the Teutonic knights in 1242.