Another thought or two on the need for an American '1812 Overture'
The vast reach and untold influence of this humble blog was driven home today by the New York Times, which, in a New York Philharmonic review by Jim Oestreich, mentioned my call for an Americanized "1812 Overture."
In case anyone thought I was totally serious with that idea, let me reassure you that I haven't lost my mind completely (yet). And let me hasten to add that I still like that darn Tchaikovsky war horse, as long as it isn't trotted out too often around me. My main point remains firm, though -- we Americans really ought to find something else to listen to at the finale of Fourth of July concerts.
There may not be anything already in the repertoire that hits the same wonderfully noisy spot as the "1812 Overture," but, assuming no one takes up my awesome challenge to re-do Tchaikovsky's score with a twist of American tunes, I readily admit there are a few pieces out there that deserve the spotlight, or the fireworks. You can start with one being loudly championed by my distinguished Sun colleague, John McIntyre, who has used his own ever-entertaining blog to tout a work by Dudley Buck (1839-1909) -- "Concert Variations of The Star-Spangled Banner."
I hate to say it (because I didn't think of it first), but I think John may have something there. Originally composed for organ, the score makes a suitably rousing impression in its orchestrated guise (maybe a few cannon could be added as needed for concert performances so audiences won't feel deprived should the "Concert Variations" ever be used in lieu of the "1812"). Here's a recording of this ready-for-the-Fourth, all-American music. Let me know what you think.