There are some pieces that make you think of an epic story or battle sequence, and every time you hear them, you’ve got a movie playing in your head that would go perfectly with the music. The 1812 Overture is one of those pieces.
This is one piece commonly played at fireworks shows on the 4th of July. I find it odd that music from a Russian composer would be played at American celebrations, but there you have it. I even know of a local performance that uses real cannons in the fireworks show (it’s pretty awesome). You cannot record or perform this piece without cannons, it just doesn’t work without them.
|I made this one|
Some try to tell you this piece is about the War of 1812, but it’s not. This has nothing to do with United States history. It was written to commemorate Napoleon’s retreat from Russia in 1812. We won’t get into all of the details of the tunes used in the piece and how they relate to historical events (although interesting). That’s another post for another time.
Today I want to share with you the story I envision whenever I hear this piece:
00:00- The residents of a small town gather in a church before the war, and the choir sings.
1:59- War has been declared, so the men meet at the town square to prepare for battle. They discuss their strategy, and get motivated to fight.
3:07- At the enemy camp, the general discusses their evil plan
3:50- The good guys become motivated for battle with some upbeat music
4:46- The battle finally begins, both parties march toward the battle field, and quote various motivational quotes to motivate the soldiers, and at 5:34 they charge onto the field.
6:02- The battle rages on violently, and they await the hero.
6:55- The hero of the story must say farewell to his one true love, not knowing if they will ever see each other again. They meet in the forest and say their farewells to one another.
7:41- The hero walks away slowly and sorrowfully as he leaves to go to battle
8:30- Children sing and play in the streets. ( just because children are singing in the recording, this advances the plot in no way except they are singing sadly because of the war)
9:11- The battle rages on, bad things happen as the good guys are getting killed left and right
10:50- The hero is on his journey to the battle, stopping in a quiet spot in the forest, and dreaming of his one true love coming to him on a white horse, saying everything will be alright
11:36- Back to the children again, because they’re singing.
11:56- Victory is coming. The hero rides his horse out from the forest, arriving on the battle field (12:33) into battle, defeating the enemy with great skill as gallops through the battlefield
12:45- He falls off his horse after the last cannon (being shot), rolling down a hill.
13:25 The war has been won, and the hero survives his injury. The church bells play in celebration.
14:30- A parade goes through town, complete with dancing and fireworks. The heroes parade through town on their horses, which trot to the beat of the music.
15:02- The soldiers and people march out of town celebrating, coming to a picturesque countryside
15:26- The hero’s horse rears up with an American flag waving in the wind, and the camera zooms out to reveal more of the picturesque countryside.
Happy 4th to all you readers in the United States, be careful with the fireworks.