Composed by Tchaikovsky to commemorate the Russian defense of Moscow against Napoleon's armies, the Overture traces the sequence of the military campaign. At the turning point of the invasion, the Battle of Borodino in 1812, the musical score includes five Russian cannon shots signaling the reversal of French fortunes. This is followed by a descending string passage, including a fragment of "La Marseillaise
" mocking the retreating French forces. After this comes victory bells and a triumphant repetition.