Probably a good many of our readers never heard the name Julius Fučik, even though the Czar is certain you can hum every note to the first third of his military battle march “Entry of the Gladiators,: (Vjezd Gladiátorů, although he preferred to call it « Grande Marche Chromatique»), composed in 1897.
Like many academics of his time, Fučik was a neo-classicist and was smitten with the glory of Rome and the notion of gladiators killing each other. Given the spread of nationalism at the time, he wrote a march that could be used by troops going off to war or marching triumphantly into a bombed-out city. This was a badass piece of music, certainly designed to overwhelm you with pride for the military machinery you were watching.
Here’s the piece, so you can remind yourself how supercool this march is.
Of course, you probably associate this march with something quite different than infantry and cavalry troops in precise formations. In 1910, this piece got picked up by a very different industry that was into campgrounds, tents, and horses and its popularity soared around the world. Fučik died only six years later, and the Czar always suspected that the popularity of his prized work gnawed at him. He died an unhappy man for a lot of reasons, but Fučik must have cringed every time this tune played.
Hey, that’s how irony works, folks. You do something great, like write for this site, and eventually some shaved troll like Ghettoputer barges in here and soils it all up. But here’s the real irony: very few people outside of the Czech Republic would have any clue who he was, and his music would languish at the bottom of stacks of yellowed sheet music if it wasn’t for this weird twist of fate. Today, not many people know who Julius Fučik was, but probably a billion people can start humming this march off the top of their heads. On key, too.
And for a musician, he ought to be pretty proud of that accomplishment.
Божію Поспѣшествующею Милостію Мы, Дима Грозный Императоръ и Самодержецъ Всероссiйскiй, цѣсарь Московскiй. The Czar was born in the steppes of Russia in 1267, and was cheated out of total control of all Russia upon the death of Boris Mikhailovich, who replaced Alexander Yaroslav Nevsky in 1263. However, in 1283, our Czar was passed over due to a clerical error and the rule of all Russia went to his second cousin Daniil (Даниил Александрович), whom Czar still resents. As a half-hearted apology, the Czar was awarded control over Muscovy, inconveniently located 5,000 miles away just outside Chicago. He now spends his time seething about this and writing about other stuff that bothers him.