miércoles, 2 de noviembre de 2022

Franz Schubert, Military March No. 1

Along with the "Serenade" and the "Ave Maria", Military March No. 1 is probably one of Franz Schubert's most famous melodies. Popularly known by the simple title "Schubert's military march", it is the first of the series of Three Military Marches for piano four hands published in 1826, as opus 51, by Anton Diabelli in Vienna.
They are assumed to have been written at Szeliz Castle, about 150 km from Vienna, where Schubert spent the summers of 1818 and 1819, engaged as a musical preceptor to the daughters of Count Johann Esterházy, cousin of Haydn's protector.

The girls, Carolina and Maria 
There were two girls: Carolina, 13 years old, and Maria, 15 years old. With Maria, the lessons were more interesting as she showed a more advanced level than her sister, but by the second summer, the little Schubert began to take a sentimental interest in Carolina, who, of course, was now fourteen. But his proverbial shyness did not allow him to go any further. Nevertheless, his letters of the time to his friends in Vienna are brimming with optimism: "I am perfectly alive and composing like a god [...]", he writes in one of them.

The four-hand piano
As the teacher of two sisters, the compositions – written like a God – that could be of most immediate benefit to him were, of course, the four-hand pieces. So the military marches must have been heard more than once in the palace, Schubert accompanying one of the girls or, perhaps, leaning back in an armchair, listening to his pupils with an attentive ear, ready to correct, although with his eyes fixed on Caroline, I suspect.

Military March No. 1
Countless arrangements and versions have been made of the Military March No. 1 (catalogued today as D.733, together with the other two marches). It has been used in multiple TV and film formats. Among the most serious rewritings, stand out for their importance, the Grand paraphrase de concert by Liszt, and the "quote" of Stravinski in Circus Polka (ballet choreographed for dancers and elephants).

Marked allegro vivace and written in the key of D major, the piece presents the traditional ternary structure A-B-A, its final section a frank repetition of the beginning. It lasts about 5 min.
Presented here is the original version for piano four hands by the pianist duo Salim & Sivan.

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