You may not recognize the title of this piece, but we are sure you will recognize the tune! Click the video below to listen.
Julius Fucik was a Czech composer of over 400 marches, polkas, and waltzes, as well as a conductor of military bands. He composed most of his works for military band, and is thus sometimes known as the "Bohemian Sousa."
Fucik was born in 1872 in Prague, Bohemia. When he was young, he learned how to play the bassoon, violin, and percussion, and also studied composition with Antonín Dvořák. In 1891, he joined the Austro-Hungarian Regiment as a military musician, and then went on to join several different groups as a musician and a conductor. In 1897, he rejoined the army as the bandmaster.
Soon after, he wrote his most famous piece, Einzug der Gladiatoren or Entrance of the Gladiators. Fucik originally called the piece Grande Marche Chromatique. But he renamed it due to his interest in Roman history. The march demonstrates the state of the art in playing technology and the construction of brass instruments, which allowed the players to play fast and even chromatic scales.
Fucik eventually moved to Berlin where he started his own band. But after the first World War began, he was low on money and his health suffered. He died in 1916.
In 1910, Canadian composer Louis-Phillipe Laurendeau arrangedEntrance of the Gladiatorsfor a smaller band, under a new title, Thunder and Blazes. He used a faster tempo and a different key, and is the version that most people are familiar with and is associated with clowns in the circus.
The Chromatic Scale
The twelve notes of the octave—all the black and white keys in one octave on the piano—form the chromatic scale. The tones of the chromatic scale (unlike those of the major or minor scale) are all the same distance apart - one half step. The name chromatic scale comes from the Greek word chrôma, meaning color. In this sense, chromatic scale means "notes of all colors." Below is an example of a one-octave chromatic scale going up and back down.