With Sword and Lance

Orchestre d'Harmonie

With Sword and Lance

Mit Schwert und Lanze

Marche de concert, Marche
Maison d'édition:
Partition + Conducteur + Parties
Numéro d'édition:
Date de publication:


There are not many composers who acquired universal renown on the basis of one march only, and whose career, on the other hand, is virtually unknown even today. Hermann Starke belongs to that group, and even his lifetime – 1870 until 1920 – is not documented and therefore must be construed as an assumption at best. One of the few verifiable entries on that composer is shown in the Directory of Military Musicians for the German Reich (Berlin, 1899). There, line no. 3 for the Offenbach-based Grand Ducal Hessian Infantry Regiment No. 168 reads: Sergeant, Military Musician (Hoboist) Hermann Starke, first clarinet in B (solo), first clarinet…; Biebererstr. 15.” These probably are the one only and provable data on Hermann Starke.

It would be completely misleading to assume that his work as a composer is to be reduced to one march only, namely “With Sword and Lance”. Quite to the contrary: Starke appears to have been a very productive composer who worked for several renowned period publishing companies, e.g. for Oertel in Hanover or Tonger in Cologne. His last opus numbers (528 to 794) were published by his own company which he had established in Breslau (today Wroclaw in Poland). Regarding the titles of his marches, Starke relied strongly on patriotic feelings of his day. To quote but two examples: “Auf nach China” (“On to China”) undoubtedly refers to the so-called Boxer Rebellion whereas the march “Im Schützenfeuer” (“Under Rifle Fire”) was written during World War I. However, Starke’s most ambitious work, the tone poem “Der Naturfreund” (“The Nature Lover”) was at the same time distributed by two publishers prior to 1893. It contained a total of twenty movements (“pictures”).

Starke’s beautiful march “Mit Schwert und Lanze” (sometimes also called “Mit Swertern und Lanzen”) never became truly popular in Germany, whereas it achieved universal recognition under its English title “With Sword and Lance”. Hermann Starke was awarded a first prize for it, as he had submitted it for the 1900 international march competition organized by Boosey & Son of London. The marches “Bavarda” and “Light Cavalry” which he had written for this English publisher are still known today and do show up on band programs from time to time.

Siegfried Rundel must be commended for his arrangement, as through it is due to his efforts that this sterling British prize-winning march will finally return to Germany. The band world of today will definitely consider it as an enrichment of the international repertory of marches.

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