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TorgoX (1933)


"Il est beau comme la retractilité des serres des oiseaux rapaces [...] et surtout, comme la rencontre fortuite sur une table de dissection d'une machine à coudre et d'un parapluie !" -- Lautréamont

Journal of TorgoX (1933)

Thursday August 28, 2003
05:24 AM


[ #14362 ]
To: [My 11-year-old cousin]
From: [me]
Subject: Fucik

It recently occurred to me that Your musical education cannot be complete without a consideration of the Czech composer, Julius Fucik.

He was born in Prague in 1872, in the Bohemia/Moravia state of the Austro-Hungarian empire. He seems to have grown up speaking German, Czech, and Hungarian. His name is pronounced YOO-lee-uss FOO-chick.

When he was a teenager, he joined the imperial military as a musician -- the empire was big on brass bands and whatnot -- and studied with the composer Antonin Dvorak (who later came to the US and composed the "From The New World" Symphony, and whose distant cousin Augustin Dvorak designed the keyboard layout that made it possible for me to keep typing after years of using the QWERTY layout gave me almost-permanent neuromuscular damage).

Fucik wrote a new piece (whether march, polka, or other peppy fun things) every few months, and was famous as a band leader. He moved to Berlin in the early 1910s to start a music publishing company (the equivalent of a record label at the time); but war broke out, and in the devastation, he died, along with millions of other Europeans, and the existences of the Austro-Hungarian, Russian, and German empires. The lands of the Austro-Hungarian empire were carved up into ethnic nations, and Prague ended up in Czechoslovakia, and then the Czech Republic.

Fucik's hundred-odd compositions have been mostly forgotten. In the Czech Republic, his marches are considered popular Czech "patriotic" music, which is odd since no such country even existed until after he was dead. Outside of the Czech Republic, only one work of his is well known -- opus #68, which he wrote when he was about 25. He titled it in German: "Einzug der Gladiatoren" ("Enter the Gladiators"). It is now normally known just as "the clown music". Here is a MIDI file of it.

The lesson, I suppose, is that crazy music and European history are just two sides of the same coin.

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  • Gladiators (Score:3, Funny)

    by ziggy (25) on 2003.08.28 11:27 (#23618) Journal
    Ridley Scott should have used that piece as the theme music for Gladiator. I don't know what he was thinking -- commissioning a new piece of theater music when there was a perfectly good composition (without any ASCAP licensing issues!) that evokes the image of gladitorial combat....