Tune of the Day: Under the Double Eagle
This popular march was written in the 1880s by Josef Franz Wagner, who is not to be confused with the more famous Richard Wagner. Josef Wagner, also known as “The Austrian March King”, was a military bandmaster in the service of the Habsburgs. The “double eagle” referred to in the title was the symbol of the conjoined state of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. That said, it is evident that the long-held notion that “Under the Double Eagle” has some historical significance as an icon of American patriotism is in error.
Josef Wagner composed over 400 works, mostly marches, but only a few of these pieces have ever appeared in the United States. Under the Double Eagle made its American debut in 1894; it was quickly picked up by Sousa's Band and became immediately popular, being widely distributed on early sound reproduction devices, such as primitive phonograph records, pianolas and music boxes. To this day “Under the Double Eagle” has remained a staple of small-town brass band literature, and is commonly played as a circus march.
Thanks to Zyx for suggesting this piece!