Music with Ease > Classical Music > Concert Guide: Romantic Era > The Kaiser March (Wagner)
The Kaiser March
The well-known "Kaiser March" was written in honor of the German victory over France in 1870 and was first played in Berlin in 1871. It opens with a majestic theme in full orchestra which is developed with genuine "Sturm und Drang." After this subsides, the brasses and kettle drums prepare the way for the second theme in the woodwinds, which leads to the first phrase of the Martin Luther Chorale, "Ein feste Burg," in full harmony in all the wind instruments against a powerful string accompaniment. This material is next developed, giving a picture of battle, until at last the brasses once more sing the Chorale, against the tumult signifying victory. A fanfare leads to the return of the first theme which is given out in full orchestra fortissimo. At the return of this theme a unison chorus is written, but it is rarely sung.