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]
It is Christmas Eve (or the 7th night of Chanukah), and the Stahlbaums are having a lavish party in Germany, or Harlem, or 1770s Washington, DC, or a 1970s-esque retro-future, or a cabaret or any number of times and places ... and then the magic happens! [more inside]
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]
Tchaikovsky Timelapse manually snapped frames in-between the frames the animator intended to use, in order to capture the animation process in action. Not sure if the actual time-lapse has been released, but more on the elaborate production of it is available here.
Tchaikovsky's Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy played on a glass harp. [SLYT]
The Beatles' music has been a source of several high-profile mashup albums, but Arthur Wilkinson's Beatlecracker Suite is probably the first. It arranges Beatles hits with famous themes and motifs from Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker. Part one, part two.
Keeping Score is designed to give people of all musical backgrounds an opportunity to explore signature works by composers Hector Berlioz, Charles Ives, and Dmitri Shostakovich in depth, and at their own pace. The interactive audio and video explores the composers’ scores and pertinent musical techniques as well as the personal and historical back stories. [more inside]
And now presenting the 10 Best Uses Of Classical Music In Classic Cartoons!
The Golden Dreydl (streaming audio): a wonderfully... different arrangement of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite. [more inside]
1812 Shmupfilture. Sure, it could be better, but somehow I think this is the only time I'll see Tchaikovsky mashed up with Ikaruga. @
"When Tchaikovsky heard the celesta during a trip to Paris, he wrote a letter to his publisher saying, "get me one of those before another composer steals it." The Sugar Plum Fairy from The Nutcracker couldn't dance without it. We have the history of the celesta -- and hear it in a special performance by Lambert Orkis of the National Symphony Orchestra." From NPR's Morning Edition a look at this relatively obscure instrument that young wizards music are made of. If you can't play or afford the real thing, try the chime.