For Band (Grade 4).
By John O'Neill
July 4, 1812....or 1776?
Every Fourth of July, dozens, perhaps hundreds of concerts are brought to a conclusion with a performance of Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture.” An exciting piece of music, yes. Appropriate to celebrate the date in history when we notified the British they were no longer welcome here? After all, it was written to commemorate the Russian victory over our good friends and allies, the French. If France had not sent General Lafayette to America, we might be singing “God Save the Queen” today instead of the “Star Spangled Banner.” 1812 was the year that Dolly Madison rose to fame by rescuing paintings from the White House as the British were setting it on fire. Not a good year for our fledgling democracy! As an alternative, I offer “1776...A Salute to Independence Day.” Bombs bursting in air, fireworks galore, and 100% American!
“1776” was originally written for the Reno Philharmonic and received several performances at the annual Fourth of July concerts.