A Month of Marches: Rákóczi March

Classical Music Odyssey

This march is one of the great nationalistic tunes of Hungary. It’s origin is unknown, and it’s composer anonymous, however it has been well-known in Hungary since the 1730’s and is said to represent the oppression of the Hungarian people at the hands of the Habsburgs. The tune of the march has been adapted by many classical composers, notably by Liszt in his Hungarian Rhapsody No 15. However, the most famous adaptation is by French composer Hector Berlioz as part of his dramatic work for voices and orchestra, The Damnation of Faust. In the work, the Rákóczi (pronounced Rock-oh-tsee) March, under the title “Marche Hongroise” appears and represents an army passing in the distance.

This is a short, but very exciting character march, and is very frequently excepted and performed outside of a full performance of the Damnation of Faust. This superb recording is conducted by the great Hungarian conductor…

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