4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

The right reasons for canceling the 1812 Overture

San Diego Symphony replacing it with Rimsky-Korsakov's Russian Easter Overture

The Cathedral of Christ the Savior, finished in 1880, had been commissioned in 1812 by Tsar Alexander I.
The Cathedral of Christ the Savior, finished in 1880, had been commissioned in 1812 by Tsar Alexander I.

The San Diego Symphony has canceled Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture for the final concert of their summer season. They are replacing it with Rimsky-Korsakov's Russian Easter Overture.

Here is the complete statement from The Symphony:

San Diego Symphony: Tchaikovsky’s Symphonic Tales

“While this program has been a regular of San Diego Symphony summer seasons past, with the ongoing Russian war that threatens the people of Ukraine, who – as we speak – are fighting for their very lives, we feel that it is important to amend this program. Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture was commissioned and written to celebrate a Russian military victory and includes the sounds of battle and violent artillery.

"The San Diego Symphony highly respects the work of Russian composers and intends to carry that legacy on through our musical performances, as is evidenced by the new program listed above. But, we strongly feel that this summer is not the time in which we should perform the 1812 Overture.

"We join the many millions across the world who wholeheartedly support Ukraine and its people in one of the darkest hours of their history and carry hope that this war will end soon.”

Let’s dig into this just a little bit. The 1812 Overture or, to give it its official title, The Year 1812, a Festive Overture, was not commissioned to celebrate a Russian military victory. It was, quite famously, commissioned to celebrate the completion of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in 1880. The cathedral had been commissioned in 1812 by Tsar Alexander I to acknowledge the hand of divine providence in delivering Russia from the invading Napoleon.

Video:

Tchaikovsky Overture solennelle "1812" Op.49

Goteborg Symphoniker, Neeme Järvi

Goteborg Symphoniker, Neeme Järvi

The music begins with the Eastern Orthodox hymn “O Lord, Save thy People.” The hymn makes a grand appearance at the climax of the piece and then transitions into “God Save the Tsar.” These hymns go with the occasion of a cathedral being dedicated.

Tchaikovsky does depict the battle of Borodino in which the French forces were victorious. Allow me to repeat that. The French forces were victorious. However, the battle led to Napoleon's army being engulfed and destroyed by the Russian winter.

The cannons at the end (the “violent artillery” mentioned in the Symphony’s statement) were included as a representation of victory along with the ringing of bells representing the church bells being rung in celebration. The cannons were not included as a representation of violence. The 1812 Overture was written 68 years after the fact.

Do I oppose having the 1812 Overture replaced? I do not. My opinion of the piece tends to agree with that of Tchaikovsky himself who said that it was “without artistic merit.”

Superimposing current politics onto the past is a disingenuous practice on the whole. A much more fair and poignant statement might have gone something like this:

“Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture uses the sounds of cannons, which are a very real thing in Ukraine at this time. As Tchaikovsky’s music celebrates the defeat of an invading army, it is our hope that the Ukrainian people celebrate the defeat of an invading army. We perform Tchaikovsky’s music in the hopes that victory comes soon to the people of Ukraine and that peace is restored.”

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Ken Harrison R.I.P.

Reader freelancer became radio newsman in Bishop CA
Next Article

Warmly transcending a degree of nostalgia

David J, The Snodgrass, Nite Lapse, Tim Flannery, Raymond Raposa
The Cathedral of Christ the Savior, finished in 1880, had been commissioned in 1812 by Tsar Alexander I.
The Cathedral of Christ the Savior, finished in 1880, had been commissioned in 1812 by Tsar Alexander I.

The San Diego Symphony has canceled Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture for the final concert of their summer season. They are replacing it with Rimsky-Korsakov's Russian Easter Overture.

Here is the complete statement from The Symphony:

San Diego Symphony: Tchaikovsky’s Symphonic Tales

“While this program has been a regular of San Diego Symphony summer seasons past, with the ongoing Russian war that threatens the people of Ukraine, who – as we speak – are fighting for their very lives, we feel that it is important to amend this program. Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture was commissioned and written to celebrate a Russian military victory and includes the sounds of battle and violent artillery.

"The San Diego Symphony highly respects the work of Russian composers and intends to carry that legacy on through our musical performances, as is evidenced by the new program listed above. But, we strongly feel that this summer is not the time in which we should perform the 1812 Overture.

"We join the many millions across the world who wholeheartedly support Ukraine and its people in one of the darkest hours of their history and carry hope that this war will end soon.”

Let’s dig into this just a little bit. The 1812 Overture or, to give it its official title, The Year 1812, a Festive Overture, was not commissioned to celebrate a Russian military victory. It was, quite famously, commissioned to celebrate the completion of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in 1880. The cathedral had been commissioned in 1812 by Tsar Alexander I to acknowledge the hand of divine providence in delivering Russia from the invading Napoleon.

Video:

Tchaikovsky Overture solennelle "1812" Op.49

Goteborg Symphoniker, Neeme Järvi

Goteborg Symphoniker, Neeme Järvi

The music begins with the Eastern Orthodox hymn “O Lord, Save thy People.” The hymn makes a grand appearance at the climax of the piece and then transitions into “God Save the Tsar.” These hymns go with the occasion of a cathedral being dedicated.

Tchaikovsky does depict the battle of Borodino in which the French forces were victorious. Allow me to repeat that. The French forces were victorious. However, the battle led to Napoleon's army being engulfed and destroyed by the Russian winter.

The cannons at the end (the “violent artillery” mentioned in the Symphony’s statement) were included as a representation of victory along with the ringing of bells representing the church bells being rung in celebration. The cannons were not included as a representation of violence. The 1812 Overture was written 68 years after the fact.

Do I oppose having the 1812 Overture replaced? I do not. My opinion of the piece tends to agree with that of Tchaikovsky himself who said that it was “without artistic merit.”

Superimposing current politics onto the past is a disingenuous practice on the whole. A much more fair and poignant statement might have gone something like this:

“Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture uses the sounds of cannons, which are a very real thing in Ukraine at this time. As Tchaikovsky’s music celebrates the defeat of an invading army, it is our hope that the Ukrainian people celebrate the defeat of an invading army. We perform Tchaikovsky’s music in the hopes that victory comes soon to the people of Ukraine and that peace is restored.”

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Warmly transcending a degree of nostalgia

David J, The Snodgrass, Nite Lapse, Tim Flannery, Raymond Raposa
Next Article

Thunderstorms in the East and Resident Hummingbirds

Ocotillo can grow instantly after a storm
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories Fishing Report — What’s getting hooked from ship and shore From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town The Gonzo Report — Making the musical scene, or at least reporting from it Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Theater — On stage in San Diego this week Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close