real cannon recording used in 1812 Overature?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Charles J P, Jan 13, 2002.

  1. Charles J P

    Charles J P Cinematographer

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    I have recently gotten a really nice 2 disk set of Overatures from my Mom for x-mas. It has a great sounding recording of the the 1812 overture. I was wondering how the do the cannon fire. Is it just someone beating the crap out of a large bass drum or tympani and a snare drum at the same time or do they use some kind of pre-recorded sound?
     
  2. Brian Perry

    Brian Perry Cinematographer

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    It depends on the recording. Telarc's famous version used real cannons, which go down to 6 Hz!
     
  3. andrew markworthy

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    Tchaikovsky intended the 1812 to use real cannon and a real set of church bells (the cannon and bells should be some distance from the orchestra, I should add) *if available* - i.e. the cannon and bells are optional extras and a perfomance without them is just as valid as one with. I *think* I'm right in saying that it was never performed with cannon and bells in his lifetime.

    Needless to say, with the advent of modern recording, the 1812 has been a magnet for recording engineers, and there are a lot of versions available. The Telarc is the best known modern version, but there is a performance from the 1950s which is arguably better both musically and sonically. This is the performance conducted by Dorati on the Mercury Living Presence label, which is available on CD. What's more, you also get an extra audio track outlining how the cannon and bells were recorded. The recording doesn't have the bass depth of the Telarc, but to my ears it sounds more realistic.
     
  4. Stefan A

    Stefan A Second Unit

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    When the local community orchestra played the 1812 Overture, I got to be the cannon player. I am actually a tuba player, but the orchestra already has a tubist. I am friends with the conductor, so he asked me to play the part. (aparently the real percussionists had better things to do). Anyway, we used a digital sample and had a laptop hooked up to a speaker setup. All I had to do was press the space bar at the right time.

    If cannons are not used, I would imagine a well placed bass drum hit would do the trick.
     
  5. Charles J P

    Charles J P Cinematographer

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    I guess the only reason I asked is because I heard the Telarc recording used digitally recorded cannon fire so that they could maintain frequency response below 10Hz in the end recording. My recording sounds excellent, but it sounds like someone hitting a big bass drum and a snare drum at the same time to get the snap and explosion at the same time.
     
  6. David Young

    David Young Extra

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    Can anyone here recollect the original vinyl version of the Telarc 1812? Could anybody play it?
     
  7. Robert McDonald

    Robert McDonald Stunt Coordinator

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    Growing up we would listen to the 1958 Mercury recording on vinyl. It had the commentary just as the CD does. I was delighted when I was able to find the Mercruy recording on CD (Mercury Living Presence #434 360-2). In my opinion the Mercury recording is better musically, as it just flows better (maybe because that is the one I heard growing up). To try to recreate an accurate sound of cannons for 1812 they used a bronze cannon of 1775. The CD also has Beethoven's Wellington's Victory by the London Symphony Orchastra, in which they used real cannons and French and British muskets. The liner notes are good, too.
     
  8. Steve Owen

    Steve Owen Second Unit

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    Yes, the Telarc version is quite amazing. Be sure to not damage your speakers (it's quite possible).

    Reminds me of the time I went to the 4th of July celebration in Boston. We're sitting there (with a couple million other people) watching the Boston Pops and during the 1812 Overture... BOOM. Incredibly loud. Scared the living crap out of everyone in the area. Seems that they parked the howitzer that they use for the cannon behind some bushes right near where we were sitting.

    -Steve
     
  9. Anthony Hom

    Anthony Hom Supporting Actor

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    I have heard the Berlin Philharmonic under the direction of Herbert Von Karajan for Deutsch Grammaphone and I believe they used real cannons for that version. I do not recall the year of the recording, however, but it was before 1970.
     

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