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Uploaded on Feb 26, 2010
1812 Overture, P.I. Tchaikovsky, arr by Andrew Balent (Performed on Feb 25)
Festival Overture The Year 1812, is an overture written by Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky in 1880 to commemorate Russia's defense of Moscow against Napoleon's advancing Grande Armée at the Battle of Borodino in 1812. The music can be interpreted as a fairly literal depiction of the campaign. On September 7, 1812, Napoleon's forces met those of the Russian Army in the only concerted stand made by Russia against the seemingly invincible French army. The Battle of Borodino saw casualties estimated as high as 100,000. With resources depleted and supply lines overextended, Napoleon's crippled forces moved into Moscow, which surrendered without resistance. Expecting capitulation from the displaced Tsar Alexander I, the French instead found themselves in a barren and desolate city razed to the ground by the retreating Russian Army.Deprived of winter quarters, Napoleon found it necessary to retreat. Abandoned by Napoleon in December, the Grande Armée was reduced to one-tenth its original size by the time it reached Poland.