Selection of marches from the museum Collection Musical Library
The museum Collection Musical Library features a number of singular recordings of European marches on the old-time musical media - metal discs, paper music rolls and gramophone records.
One of the most prominent works by Johann Strauss Sr. - ”Radetzky March” is among them. It was written in 1848 as a greeting to the troops of Field Marshal Count Radetzky, who returned after crushing the rebellion in Italy. The march was first performed on August 31, 1848 in the streets of Vienna in front of the passing troops. The basis of the march was The Austrian folk tune “Old Viennese Dance” laid the groundwork for it. Strauss accelerated its tempo in such a way that the melody was synchronized with the cavalry units’ cavalcade. Interestingly, that the Radetzky March always concludes the New Year’s concert of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. According to the emerged tradition, the audience accompanies it with rhythmic clapping and stamping feet.
"The Königgrätz March", also known as Der Königgrätzer or Der Königgrätzer Marsch, is one of the most famous German military marches, composed in 1866 by Johann Gottfried Piefke in commemoration of the Battle of Königgrätz, the decisive battle of the Austro-Prussian War, in which the Kingdom of Prussia defeated the Austrian Empire. The first draft of the march is said to have been written by Piefke on the battlefield. The Königgrätzer Marsch continues to be extremely popular and is a staple of any modern German military parade, whereas in Austria it is heard only very rarely, because the piece is associated with Austrian military failure.
One of the recognizable and noteworthy marches of the classical theater is the “March” from the 2nd act from the opera “Tannhäuser” by Richard Wagner, which, according to the libretto, takes place in the magnificent Minnesingers Hall of the Wartburg Palace. “Tannhäuser” is a typically romantic opera with its characteristic contrast between fiction and reality, solemn processions, dance scenes, extensive choirs and ensembles.
"The Archduke Albrecht March" (German: Erzherzog-Albrecht-Marsch) is an Austro-Hungarian military march, composed by Karel Komzák II was named in honour of Archduke Albrecht, Duke of Teschen (1817–1895). Komzak's important contribution to the development of Austrian military music was his use of string instruments. His orchestra consisted of no less than fourteen first violins, and therefore it could be compared with the usual concert orchestra of that time. The march was used extensively by the German forces in World War I and World War II, especially during the departures and arrivals of U-boats.
“Grand Duke Frederick!” is the crown among the well-known European marches. This is a German military march of the early 20th century, which was composed in 1903 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 1st Baden Grenadier Regiment No.109 by its commander Adolf Bettge (1848-1913) and subsequently became the main parade march of the regiment.
All presented marches are recorded from gramophone records that are stored in the Musical Library of the museum Collection.
It is important to note that some of the marches presented are also included in the repertoire of Russian military bands, including the Central Military Orchestra. Today, military orchestras strongly support the traditions of drill and ceremonial music. A striking example is the annual international festival Spasskaya Tower, which takes place on the Red Square in Moscow.