Pyotr llyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893), is another talented and well known composer of classic music that will be dealt with in this essay. Tchaikovsky also brought new understandings to the world of classic music and his work 1812 Overture was the one related to Napoleon Bonaparte. As it can be understood from the title of the work, it was about the Battle of Borodino between Russia and France. It started as an invasion of Russia by Napoleon and his army in 1812 and struck Russian society to its core, but as a consequence Napoleon was temporarily defeated which made the war to be a glory in Russian history and consciousness. However, the work was composed nearly seven decades after the war and its glory (Tchaikovsky was born twenty eight years after the Battle of Borodino anyway). In 1880, with the authorization of Nikolai Rubinstein, Tchaikovsky composed his overture (June 1881), for the consecration of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, which was built in 1870s to remember the defeat of Napoleon in 1812 (Bova, 2003, p. 213-214). A reason why Tchaikovsky accepted the authorization of Rubinstein can also be about his uncle Ivan who gave his life fighting against Napoleon the year before Waterloo (Mundy, 1998, p. 10).
Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821), the reputed emperor of France, coroneted in 1804 and reigned for approximately eleven years, was an important person for the world scene even after his death. His personality and thoughts affected many different spheres of life and the sphere of art is one of them. Beethoven and Tchaikovsky are well known classical composers who composed music about Napoleon. Beethoven's Eroica and Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture are the works that will be analyzed in this essay taking into consideration the role of Napoleon in them. These two composers were affected by different factors while referring to Napoleon in their work. It will be first looked at their motivation separately to show the differences in their works.
Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture
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The 1812 Overture (Full title: Festival Overture ..