Everyone is familiar with Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture. Yes, the one with the cannons. Sixteen cannon shots are written into the score, and they're to be fired in a two-minute span — it's known in the biz as "a big finish." Strangely, the management of some concert halls does not allow the discharge of artillery indoors, and so either prerecorded shots are played or clever drumwork substitutes. But should we be accepting substitutes on this adopted piece of Americana? For although the 1812 Overture was written to commemorate Russia's victory over Napoleon, it has become a staple of Fourth of July celebrations. Tonight, in its first Musical Mondays concert of the season, the Compton Heights Concert Band performs its traditional Tribute to July Fourth with a stirring performance of the 1812 Overture — and the musicians will be accompanied by real cannons. Partly because they perform outdoors in Tower Grove Park (4256 Magnolia Avenue; 314-776-2227 or www.chband.org), and partly because they can. If you have access to a cannon, it'd be foolish to not take advantage. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m., and admission is free.
Mon., June 29, 2009