The Austrian, Schubert, was a prolific composer of music for piano, four hands, and this, the first of three ‘Marche Militaire’ (Military Marches), is one of his best known works. The marches were also amongst the few works that were published during his sadly short lifetime. He wrote the pieces in 1818, aged 21, around the time of his first summer teaching music to the Count of Esterhazy’s two young daughters.
Despite its name this is hardly militaristic music: it has more of a feeling of a pompous, jolly parade about it. After a short introductory fanfare the main theme begins – an extremely joyful, catchy one at that, but which is also simultaneously elegant and poised. The music follows a typical ternary form with a graceful, lyrical Trio middle section before a repeat of the opening material to close. This music has been much transcribed over the years, not least by Liszt, who based his Grand paraphrase de concert on it and, rather less flatteringly, by Stravinsky in his Circus Polka in which he basically pokes fun at the main theme!