Tune of the Day: The Preobrazhensky March
This is one of the most famous Russian military marches. The Preobrazhensky Life-Guard Regiment was one of the oldest and most elite guard regiments of the Imperial Russian Army. During those times, the march also served as an unofficial national anthem. It has remained popular throughout the years, and has been often used in modern Russia, although it was never officially used in the Soviet Union. Since 1964, it is also used as the slow march of the UK Royal Marines.
Neither the composer nor the age of the tune are known. Judging from an old title of the march, “March of Peter the Great”, some conjecture that it was written in the time of Peter the Great (c. 1700). Some European scholars suggested Swedish authorship, but without any concrete evidence. German sources mention the name of Ferdinand Haase (1788–1851), but the tune probably predates him. Early 20th-century British copies of the march mistakenly attributed it to Ernest Donajowski (1845–1922), who was in fact a publisher, and not a composer.
Thanks to Nathan for suggesting this tune!