Music: Philadelphia Bombardier

A noisy, patriotic hullabaloo is Peter Ilich Tschaikowsky's 1812 Overture. Depicting Napoleon's retreat from Moscow, it ends with a mixture of the Marseillaise, the Imperial Russian anthem and — so reads the score — a terrific salvo of artillery fire. Although most orchestras dub in cymbals and timpani, the 1812 has sometimes been performed with real cannon. Last week in Philadelphia, Conductor Eugene Ormandy's decision to blitz the 1812 gave the Philadelphia Orchestra a cute little publicity story.

Mr. Ormandy announced that, for the opening of the orchestra's summer season at Robin Hood Dell in Fairmount Park, the Pennsylvania National Guard had...

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