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The 1812 Overture and fireworks, as American as ... waitaminute

Every Fourth of July, Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture is heard all over the United States, timed to the burst of fireworks. How did this Russian composition, celebrating the Russian victory over the French in that War of 1812 (not the war between England and the US), become a staple of the United States' Independence Day celebrations? We can thank the Boston Pops. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jul 3, 2014 - 29 comments

"A continuous slaughter which could be of no avail either to the French or the Russians."

Today is the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Borodino, in which Napoleon's armies met Russian troops 75 miles east of Moscow on 7 September 1812. The huge battle, involving quarter of a million troops, was the strongest stand the Imperial Russian Army made against Napoleon's forces, and it resulted in heavy casualties on both sides. Although the Russian army withdrew, the French tactical victory in the Battle of Borodino was a Pyrrhic one, and Napoleon ultimately left Russia in defeat. The battle was reenacted at Borodino last weekend, as is done annually. A cultural symbol of Russian national courage, the Battle of Borodino has been famously commemorated in Russian literature, music, art, and poetry. [more inside]
posted by Westringia F. on Sep 7, 2012 - 26 comments

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