Eighty-six the "1812"
Today, July 2, the day on which the Continental Congress adopted the resolution for independence, was the day, not July 4, on which John Adams predicted that subsequent generations would commemorate with fireworks and other celebrations. (A point I had to fix in a staff story this week.)
I have been remiss in the months leading up to this year’s Independence Day, failing to follow up on last year’s exhortation to orchestras to consider incorporating Dudley Buck’s “Festival Ouverture on the Star-Spangled Banner” into the holiday concerts.
It is incongruous that the “1812 Overture,” a piece of schlock despised by its own composer, commemorating Russia’s triumph over Napoleon, and mainly an excuse for firing ordnance, should have become the signature piece for our national holiday. If we must include this monumental piece of kitsch every year, we might at least make an effort to include the work of an American composer quoting our national anthem.
And if artillery is required, by all means write some into the score.