This 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.
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.
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.