Unter dem Doppeladler

Orchestre d'Harmonie

Unter dem Doppeladler

Under the Double Eagle

Marche Traditionelle, Marche
Maison d'édition:
Petit Format
Partition + Conducteur + Parties
Numéro d'édition:
Date de publication:


The life of Franz Josef Wagner reflects the end of era in an impressive way. When the favorite of the public died of heart disease at the age of only 52, the press hardly took note of this event. With the exception of some of his marches most of his other musical works have fallen into oblivion, which even triggers the question today: “Why is Wagner called the Austrian march king?” Joseph Franz Wagner was born in Vienna and already as a young boy attracted attention by his musicality and his extraordinary soprano. Under the later Prof. J.E. Hasel he was thoroughly and rigidly educated in music. In 1878 he was employed by the commander of IR 47 as regimental bandmaster in Trento. He later served with his regiment in Vienna, Maribor and Graz. His fresh and imaginative works made him soon and rapidly win popularity and the esteem of the experts. Even his colleagues endorsed his qualities as an orchestrator and excellent skilful conductor. The band of the 47th regiment was regarded “one of the finest of the Austrian army” (Domañski). Frequent deployments of his regiments to distant locations in Austria-Hungary on the one hand and the attractiveness of Vienna, the capital, made Wagner change his regiment; in 1891 he began his new tour with IR 49. In the years to come, social problems - there was no retirement pay for military bandmasters - and frictions between military necessities and his development as an artist presumably induced him to give up his present position in 1899. He then followed the example of famous colleagues such as Czibulka, Lehár, etc. and organized an orchestra of his own. Initially his concerts staged in the capital of the monarchy were extremely successful in his especial domain, namely Viennese music. These successes, however, dwindled and the musical life of highly decorated J.F. Wagner finally approached to its end. Wagner was a prolific composer. Many of his approx. 800 works were published. As its normal with a military bandmaster, the bulk of his music was marches. Apart from them he wrote numerous waltzes, overtures, some tone poems and pieces in the vein of Viennese music. Though he used a popular and easy musical language, this does not speak against the substance in his music, its enthusiasm, imaginative qualities and elegance of the musical material and the accuracy of the musical design (Brixel). The remarkable period success, also on an international level, of some of Wagner’s marches like “Under the Double Eagle”, “Sword of Austria” or of the “Gigerl March” made him the unrivaled (Austrian) march king. When the march “Under the Double Eagle” was premiered on November 30, 1891, nobody knew that this was the birth of one of the few true “world marches”. Within a short span of time hundreds of thousands of printed editions were sold and even in the United States, the march was added to the repertory of the Sousa Band. It was even recorded by it while Wagner was not shown as composer. Did the band thus possibly want to express that the march was on a par with those of Sousa? Whatever the case may be, “Under the Double Eagle” has not lost any of its attractiveness.

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