- Album name: 1812 Festival Orchestra, Op. 49
- Composer: Tchaikovsky
- Conductor: Antal Dorati
- Orchestra: Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra, University of Minnesota Brass Band
- Year: 1958
- Number of discs: one
- Label: Mercury Records
- Collection: Brenner / Gessner
- Distinguishing characteristics: “G” written on top left of album, indicating that my father owned it
- Buy it on Amazon: $189.00
Level of familiarity before listening
This music often accompanies fireworks at American Independence Day celebrations, and though I’m an opponent of American independence now, I grew up supporting it, so I’ve heard this a lot. The famous part is one of probably fewer than 20 pieces of classical music that I can whistle from memory.
What I expected
The famous part is actually only a small bit of the overture, so I expect it to be kind of like a record where there’s one good song among a dozen mediocre songs.
What it was actually like
The 1812 Overture itself took up part of side A, with the rest of side A and all of side B devoted to an extended explanatory narration that I didn’t consider interesting or necessary at all.
The main thing that stood out to me about the overture was how much of it I recognized – not just what I considered “the famous part,” but lots of different parts that were longer than musical phrases, but shorter than song length.
I also forgot how many bells were in it. A lot of bells were in it. The bells were interesting, but the cannon were fantastic.
Overall, the quality of the recording was not spectacular – it sounded pretty muffled – and side B was fairly scratchy and kept skipping, so I couldn’t make out all of it.
4/5: would listen again