Lord Save Thy People and the 1812 Overture

The Year 1812, which is more popularly known as the 1812 overture was written by Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky to commemorate the victory over Napoleon. The overture debuted in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow on August 20th. Amongst its notable features such as the cannon fire, ringing chimes and brass fanfare finale, Tchaikovsky also wrote a part of Russian Orthodox tradition into the overture. The composition begins with “Lord Save Thy People”

Inside Christ the Saviour

When the invasion was immanent, the church, aware that the Russian Imperial Army could field a force only a fraction of this size, inexperienced and poorly equipped, called on the people to pray for deliverance and peace. The Russian people responded en masse, gathering in churches all across the Empire and offering their heartfelt prayers for divine intervention. This then, is the place of the hymn in telling the story of the invasion.

Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture

Russian Chant — Lord Save Thy People Slavyanka Men’s Chorus)