Hungarian March, Hector Berlioz (Brass Band Gala, The Fairey Band)

It's Week Three for Tack of the Week and we haven't had a march yet, so to counteract accusation of deviant behaviour here's one of my personal favourites This little tune is originally by that most prolific of composers, 'Trad.', thereafter being orchestrated in 1846 by Hector Berlioz for a crowd-pleasing finale on a concert tour to Budapest. The critical intervention in this version is as follows; whereas the source material is quite loud all the way through, Berlioz instead starts quietly and then, after building up the pressure gradually via a central fugal section, end very. very loudly indeed. This was more than sufficient to guarantee the work instant popularity. Unusually for 19th century composers Berlioz was quite a fan of brass band instruments, being a personal associate of the man who designed several of them: Adolphe Sax. He was also a fan needless march insertion into concert programmes, specially adapting the programme of his dramatic legend The Damnation of Faust to include a trip to Hungary for the purposes of hearing the tune played on stage. That particular work ends in, of all places, Hell, so it's evident that he was familiar with regional brass band competitions too. Happy listening!

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