Although Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture was written to include cannons firing and cathedral bells, synchronising them with an orchestra proved all but impossible. It wasn’t until 1954 that composer Antal Doráti mixed a studio recording with cannons and bells, finally playing it as intended.
Though he loathed it, Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture won him fans the world over and made him a household name.
In 1962, a Don Draper-like advertising executive decided to market the oaty goodness of an up-and-coming brand of breakfast cereal by detonating bowls of it from a cannon in time to the finale of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture.
When Arthur Fielder led the Boston Pops through the same piece in 1974, during a televised 4 July concert, the 1812 Overture was elevated from advertising prop to full-on national anthem, one still performed today to mark American Independence Day.
Woody Allen co-opted it for the soundtrack of his 1971 screwball comedy, Bananas. It has been referenced in The Simpsonsand in 1967, British comedian Charl… Continue Reading (7 minute read)