Heeresmusikkorps 5 Der Bundeswehr- Deutsche Heeresmarsche Aus Der Pruessischen Armeemarschsammlung Folge 3

This $2 album is the last in the series of German records I have been posting for Oktoberfest which concludes this year on Oct 3 which by my calculations is today.  What seemed to be a fun exercise in German music has lead to me greatly tiring of this and ready to move on to new things. Also, at the time of this writing, it is the Saturday after the landing of Hurricane Harvey which as you know by now, did not do much to the City of Houston other than a flash flood warning in a whole lot of counties(ED Note.  The Carnage flooding was yet to come).  You are probably asking as well if I bought every single marching band album during my Memorial Day trip to the Half Price Books on Veteran’s Memorial.  No.  I would say I bought around 1/8 of them.

The title of this album translates into “German Marches from the Prussian Collection”.  According to the back of this record, the Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm III, in 1817 oversaw to historic actions.  First, he unified the Prussian Protestant churches.  This was the first time such a unification took place in a German State.  Second, and important to this narrative, he ordered a collection begin of predominately German military marches.  The list initially included 36 slow marches and 36 quick marches but quickly grew not only in size but in scope.

At the last time of publication, 1913, the collection included 100 slow marches, 243 quick marches, and 138 Calvary marches (all Prussian).  The collection also included 35 Russian, 22 Austrian, 11 Italian, 4 French, 2 Swedish, and 1 dutch marches.

So this album is a collection of German marches as collected by the Royal Prussian Army. This was released in 1976.  The liner notes point out that these marches are both totally original at times as well as derivative of popular operas of the time.  Other than that, this is the third marching band album I have had to both listen to and write about so I am kind of at a loss in both categories.

For a sample, I went with the majestic “Festmarsch II 1871, Jan 18” which I believed celebrated the formation of the second German Empire between Kaiser Wilhem I and Otto Von Bismark.

This should come as no surprise if you have been reading the other posts but meh.  Could have used a lower price for these as well as the other albums.  Hope your Oktoberfest was fun and entertaining.

Deutschland Musik Korps- Vorwarts!Marsh!

Keepin’ it German for Oktober Fest this month for at least the end of this month.  Here is another record of marches I got for this event for $2.  If you are looking to participate in Oktoberfest activities but at this point, probably have not booked travel to Munich, check out your local area to see what celebrations are going on for those in Houston, there is a link below.  Apparently, they have not changed the graphics much from last year.

Link to Houston Oktoberfest activities

Here is another collection of German military marches brought to you by those fine folks at Fiesta Records.  When you think military bands, think Fiesta.  Not sure when this came out, nor I am too hip towards spending any more time to find out.  Anyway, this is performed by the German Music Corps. The title translates into “Forward March” and despite being German, I am constantly reminded of the Monty Python bit when I listed to this.

For a sample, I went with “Fliegermarsch” or aviator’s march.

Meh.  Sorry.  I like the front cover better than the one two days ago but marching music just does not do it for me.

Heeresmusikkorps IV- Soldatenlieder

Well,  it is September, which means Oktoberfest is on us again. Technically, it started 3 days ago.  This, the celebration runs to October 3. For one reason or another, I seemed to really double down on the German records this year for this event,  Well, let;s kick it off with this that I got for $2.

Link to helpful hints regarding attending Oktoberfest in Munich

This is a record of soldier’s songs performed by a marching orchestra, occasionally accompanied by a choir.  I assume the IV signifies 4th division of what ever branch this band is from.  Not really feeling digging into to this much further.  Listening to an album of military marches was enough research for me. Not that I do not support the military but it is just there have been no real innovations in the field of marches.  Also, I am not sure there should be, at least not at this juncture.

Anyway, for a sample, I went with “Das Schonste Auf Der Welt’ which translates to “The Most Beautiful In The World”.  To what they are describing, I do not know.

I hate to give this meh since I knew what it was going to sound like before I bought it, but come on.  Rather bland record so meh.

Miguel Asins Arbo- Marchas Militares

Bucking convention and posting two marching band records this month, this was $2.  I bought it to tie in to a story I have about Colombian music which I shall relate below and which will prove to be a bit meaningless as the post progresses.

So there I was in Bogota, Colombia in 2011 or so, around Thanksgiving.  I was there for a Oil Show (which was pretty wild and a story unto itself), working for a Chinese company.  So every day, I would get picked up from my hotel and driven to the convention center with a car load of Chinese through graffiti- covered streets.  It was on once such morning that I heard a song on the radio which I struck me in immediate awe.  It was an orchestral piece with horns and akin to something I would relate to the Soviet Union or some other leftist/nationalist composer (aka minor tones and a rousing theme driven by the said horns).

I was immediately struck by two simultaneous thoughts.  First, this was the most beautiful piece of music I had ever heard.  Second, I knew that in all probability, this would be the last time I heard it as the driver did not speak English.  So given this, I simply listened to this piece, knowing that as soon as it was over, it would be gone forever.  And after it was over, a slight sense of depression fell which in all honesty, probably ended with the car trip.

Well, because I do not read these things before I buy them or write posts, this record was by Columbia Records and indeed not from Colombia.  Perhaps the Made in Spain label should have tipped me off. Well, I already wrote the story above and do not feel like deleting it so given this completely unrelated story , we have this record of military marches from Spain. This album is not close to song I had described, nor does it differ much from other marches. It  sounds like any other military song from Europe or North America.  There is not too much different in march composition in the West\ Civilization.  Anyway, this came out in 1975.   It is conducted by Miguel Asins Arbo, born in Barcelona in 1916 and died in Valencia in 1996.  He served as bandleader form military regiments in Valencia and Madrid as well as a chair of accompaniment at the Royal Madrid Conservatory. The marching band, I believe is from the 1a Region Militar.

For a sample, I went with “Soldadito Espanol De La Orgia Dorada” which Google translates into “Little Spanish Solider of the Golden Orgy”.  I do not quite think the last part is correct but I do indeed find it humorous.

Meh.  I guess I pinned too much hope on this album. Plus I tied it in to a completely if not unrelated, than only marginally related story which I am to tired to back out of.

The Gordon Highlanders- The Very Best of Sousa

This was $2, only 99 cents less than its original extra special selling price at Sam Goody.  As much as I love listening to marching band albums (sarcasm), I bought this so I could post the three witty insights below (well, I think they are witty anyway).

No one signifies marching band mus, not just universally but here in America like John Phillip Sousa (1854-1932).  As the leader of the US Marine band as well as his own band, “The March King” composed some of the best known marches in history.

At the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, there is a section in the American instrument exhibit for both Sousa and marching bands.  On display, they have a sousaphone, a light weight tuba designed by Sousa to make it easier to march or stand with than a regular concert tuba.  From that time on, I cannot get the image out of my head of Sousa and his counterparts, staying up late at night in a creative frenzy, perhaps driven by the cocaine infused Coca-Cola they had at the time, just riffing out ideas for new instruments.  I wish I could see some of the rejected ideas.

Somehow, the story reminds me of a Mr Show skit of “The Battle of the Megaphone Crooners”.  Mr Show also combined marching band music with Amadeus for this bit as well.

Sousa’s most famous work perhaps is “Stars and Stripes Forever” (hopefully not forever).  But his second famous piece of work you may ask?  I would say “The Gladiator March”.  Unfamiliar with this you say? You probably would recognize it when you heard it as it was the theme of Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Why did they go with this song? For the simple reason that it was in the public domain.

Anyway, here is this collection of songs from his marches to his operettas, performed by the Gordon Highlanders under the direction of Douglas Ford.  I believe this was a British army regiment that got Incorporated into the Queen’s Own Highlanders in 1994, to form one group simply named the Highlanders.  Or maybe they are totally unrelated.  Who knows?

For a sample, I went with “Invincible Eagle”.

As far as the record goes, it all really started to sound the same after the third song so meh.


University of Notre Dame Band- Songs of the Fighting Irish

dscn5559This was 25 cents. I meant to post this at the beginning of College football season but forgot.  By the time you read this, my holiday is well underway.  I am also rush writing today’s post. I am in Amsterdam until Monday.  Probably more on that in next months blog.  The weather is starting to pick up a bit.  Also, as a side note, I saw the Chet Baker Bio movie on the plane over.  Really good.  More on that, probably in January.BAND v USC Pregame 10.19.2013

After UH’s win of Oklahoma, I had big hope for this season.  However, those hopes have vanished.  Oh well.  At least they are not as dashed as Notre Dame’s prospects this year.  The difference is, I guess, is that Notre Dame has a higher bar set for them year in and year out.

I was planning on writing more, but due to vacation mode, facilitate your own learning on the band

This album was released  in the 1970’s I believe and is a collection of songs that have become traditional for the band.  The band director at the time was Robert F. O Brien.  The music is great.  The only problem is that we miss the visual aspect of a marching band on a record.  dscn5560

For a sample, I went with a couple choices.  First off is the traditional Irish tune, “The Rakes of Mallow”.  Second, keeping with the Cole Porter theme of the month, we have “Begin The Beguine”.  Finally, I am posting the famous “Victory March”.bandformsmonogramnd

Satisfactory Record. I really wanted to do more with this post but vacation calls.


The German Army Chorus- ST

dscn5280-800x782I actually have had this record for around a year but decided to dust it off for this week’s build up to Oktoberfest, which is tomorrow (or Sept 17th depending on when you read this).  I enjoyed the Russian Army Chorus records immensely so I figured why not try this?  It was $3.20.col-8276-1l

Looking to do something for Oktoberfest but can’t jet over to Munich?  Search your local scene as most cities have their own smaller festivals.  Our festival (in which I mean Houston’s) is next week.

Link to Houston Oktoberfest

First right off the bat, my biggest criticism of this album is there are no breaks.  The songs segway into each other so there is no clean start or stopping point for songs.  This makes my job harder as not only can I not make a clean recording but I get confused as to what song is what as I can not translate German.  So I am not a fan of this album.dscn5281-800x773

As far as the music goes, it is alright.  I guess it is what you would expect from Germans.  The Russian Army is more rousing.  The German Army sounds more patriotic but slightly restrained. Also, very precise. But overall, it is okay. I guess it is what I would imagine a German Army chorus would sound like.military-uniforms-of-the-german-army-and-navy-german-empire-lithograph-bxha20

For a sample, I went with a selection of songs from the beginning of the record. Here is “Westerwaldlied”, and “Ein Schifflein sah ich fahren”. The first song, the Westerwald Song, is about a low range of mountains by the Rhine.  It is a famous folk song about marching into this land.  The other song translates into a small boat I saw.  Not sure what its back story is but it seems to be about a boat of soldiers.bundeswehr_-_10th_anniversary_of_multinational_corps_northeast

Meh on this .  Seriously, no breaks equals no fun for me.

Brass Band of the Army of the German Federal Republic- 25 National Anthems

DSCN1151This was $3.

I am not really sure what I was looking for with this purchase.  So I really do not know what to say about it.  Maybe this is signaling the onset of a mental disease.  Either way, this album is what it says it is; a collection of National Anthems.

Maybe not this generation or the next, but within three generations, I predict that the traditional National Anthems will be replaced because most of them are no longer relevant as far as music goes.  I predict they will be replaced by modern compositions.  In turn, some of the younger anthems will follow suit.

There was not much I could find on the conductor, Gerhard Scholtz, born in 1913.  According to users on Youtube, he was one of the conductors of Bundeswehr military bands.  His work with the Heeresmusikkorps 6 was among his best.  He also  influenced his contemporaries such as Major Hans Herzberg, Oberstleutnant Wilhelm Stephan, Major Hans Friess.  This according to Marchfan876, anyway. Scholtz would die in 1991

Lack of diversity is one of the things that disappointed me about this album.  Other than the two superstars of the genre (Great Britain and France) as well as the freshest songs (US and Canada), the rest of the anthems (with the exception of Japan) really sound the same to me.  I was disappointed that the music was not more reflective of the country they are intended to nationalize.  I excepted the anthems to embody the stereotypes I envision of those nation’s people. DSCN1152

One the positive side, the album has a real Ramones feel to it as most of the songs are around a minute.  And there are some big composers including Mozart and Haydin.  Flag_of_Czechoslovakia_svgFor a sample, I wanted to go with a country that is no longer in existence.  This album had two (USSR does not count); Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia.  I went with the Czechoslovakia.  Their national anthem is a combination of two tunes the Czech “Kde Domoj Muj” (Where is My Home) and the Slovak “Nad Tatru Sa Blyska”.  The Slovak tunes talks about a lightening storm over the Tatra mountains which signifies a threat to the Slovaks.  The Slovak people in turn, rise up to answer the call.  I was slightly disappointed to find out after the fact that both countries adapted their component as their national anthem after the split so this song really is not defunct.  However, I am not listening to this album again.  Once is enough.

The High Tatras
The High Tatras

Meh.  I will wait for the next batch of modernized anthems. I will also get my head examined in the meantime.

Deutschmeister Drums and Brasses

DSCN1008This album was $2.00. I have been trying to figure out why I bought it and all I can come up with is the onset of a mental disease. The uniforms reminded me of the guards in Cloud City in Empire Strikes Back. It may have also been “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary” on the track list as well.

I had to use a web translator to research. Besides the oddness of reading about dead people in present tense, it can be a struggle to get the accurate information in broken English summaries. Regardless, the Hoch Und Deutschmeister band seems to be a regimental unit from Austria that might have been formed in 1695 or 1741, depending how you translate it. Most sources state that the band’s instruments are custom made to produce a semitone higher than standard instrumentation, thus allowing it to be heard over great distances. According to thier website, they were still active in 2014 . Besides performing concerts here and there, they also provide musical accompaniment during the changing of the guard weekly in Vienna. Of what I could understand of the bandleaders, Julius Herrmann, the leader on this album, seems to be the most dominate conductor in the band’s history. He joined in 1910 at the age of 20. In 1918, he became the leader. In 1938, during the Annexation of Austria by Germany, all bands were placed under the direction of the Third Reich and as a result, the HOD disbanded. However, Herrmann set about reforming the band in 1945. He continued to lead until his death in 1977.

Translated History

So this album led me to ask the question, how would I be able to distinguish great band music from good or mediocre? I attempted to answer this question but seven minutes into it, I gave up. So this is my summary: Ken Alford is great; John Phillips Soussa is the best; the playing on this album is good. I feel I can go to my grave in peace with this rudimentary, even if not completely accurate understanding of marching band music. In regards to the album, it delivers what it promises: marching band music. It is not terrible. I am guessing it is quite good but it does not radically change my views on the genre. The more I listen to this, the more unsure of I am of what I was looking for with this purchase.DSCN1010

This was a tough one to pick but I went with the “Deutschmeister March“, which may or may not be written specifically for the band. Listen at your own risk.

Meh. I hope I never listen to this again.