Concert Band


nach Motiven aus der Oper “Margarethe“ (Faust) von Charles Gounod

March, Opera
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As a son of an organist and town musician Johann Gottfried Piefke grew up in a musical environment and it does not surprise therefore, that he enrolled for his military service in 1835 in the band of the Life Grenadier’s Regiment (1st Brandenburg) No. 8 in Frankfurt on the Oder. Of course, the young military musician could not know then that this regiment should become his military home for the entire time of his active service. Three years later he began his private studies at the Royal Music Academy in Berlin. Upon graduating in Berlin he was transferred back to his regiment in Frankfurt and on Jun. 01, 1843 he was promoted to the rank of Stabshoboist. There he worked hard to improve in musical matters, so that he eventually mastered to play nearly all instruments himself that were represented in his band. A new field of activities opened to the ambitious Stabshoboist when his band deployed to Berlin.

Piefke’s transcriptions and arrangements of the works of his great contemporaries made Hans von Bülow publish an enthusiastically written article in 1858 in which he highly praised Piefke’s achievements. In that period, namely on Jun 23, 1859, Piefke was appointed Royal Prussian Director of Music, a distinction awarded only by the Prussian Academy of Sciences. On account of his achievements Piefke was appointed “Director of Music of the all bands in the 3rd Army Corps” on March 20, 1865. This was a position which neither existed before nor after Piefke; this unique position thus also underlined a singular military appointment in a striking manner.

After the war years the convinced Wagnerian Piefke devoted himself in an increased way to the support of classical music. Due to its numerous concerts in Frankfurt on the Oder and a number of concert tours the Frankfurt band of the Life Grenadiers was regarded to be one of the finest bands of the Royal Prussian Army.

It is said that Gottfried Piefke had the idea to compose a lively march on motifs of “Margarethe” (Faust) at the Lebus training area. To this end he selected two striking prominent fragments for his march: the waltz and the soldiers’ choir for the trio. It is hard to comprehend that the German Federal Armed Forces did not consider this march by Piefke for their “march books”. Consequently Siegfried Rundel must be commended for his new arrangement, as it helps bands that like to perform marches with one of the finest works by Piefke.

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