Sounds Historic title
1812

Some music is inspired by historical events.

Festival Overture "The Year 1812" in E major
Composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
1812 was a bloody year across Europe and the new United States. In America, US troops battled British and Native American soldiers in what was called the “second war of independence.” In Europe, French general Napoleon Bonaparte led an invasion of Russia that would be the turning point in his control of the continent.

The 1812 Overture was written by Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. He was inspired by the brave defense of Russia’s capital against the advancing French army. Writing 60 years after the actual battle, Tchaikovsky tried to describe the events of the 1812 War.
The music tells the story of the many challenges the Russians faced as they tried to keep the French army from capturing Moscow, and of their victory as Napoleon’s army retreats in the face of the coming Russian winter. In this Listening Activity, we’ll guide you through the key events told by the music.

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