Cavalry Music of the Third Reich…

Over the many years that Tomahawk Films has been  renovating and restoring Third Reich-period archival recordings, we have received many a call asking if we could release a specific album devoted to this German musical subject or that and, enjoying this welcome interaction with our valued customers, we’ve always made a note of such interesting suggestions. Though, sadly, this original period, archival music does not grow on trees and so takes many months, (and some cases years), to track down, with the help of our colleagues in Germany we have been able to continue our search and on a number of occasions have been able to ‘come up trumps’ and produce an album, based on that very specific customer feed-back.

Our CD Reitermärsche was a good case in point and I am glad that we were able to source some of this stirring instrumental music through our German colleagues, for Prussian cavalry music, (with its distinctive trumpet and kettledrum instrumentation and its instantly recognizable ‘trotting cadence’), was an important part of the German military musical inventory and one of its leading exponents, though not Cavalry-based, in and of themselves, was the Spandau-garrisoned Musikkorps.3.Batl./9.Inf.Regt. originally directed by Adolf Becker.

Following the disbandment of the German Army in 1919 in compliance with the Treaty of Versailles, a new 100,000-man Reichswehr was eventually created for the new Weimar Republic, and with but a handful of regiments compared to those of Imperial Germany, new battalions would have to represent the previously hard-won honours & traditions of entire former regiments.

So it was that the III Battalion 9th Infantry Regiment’s Musikkorps became the new ‘Tradition-bearers’ for the old Kaiser Franz Garde-Grenadier Regiment Nr.2 and, often referred to up until 1945 as the ‘Franzers’, was initially led by Adolf Becker, who had been bandmaster of the old Kaiser Franz Regiment, and the very epitome of the Prussian soldier and one of the youngest ever Guard Obermusikmeisters.

On parade, Becker’s exhilarating and bombastic style of music thrilled the crowds in Berlin where he became known as ‘Adolf mit dem Paukenschlag’ (or Adolf with the Drumbeat), because he always had his drummers add special loud flourishes to their performances, particularly as the Unter den Linden’s Guard-Changing ceremonies were goose-stepped to their conclusions.

The original band members of the 3.Batl./9.Inf.Regt. were drawn from the old Prussian Guards ‘Franzers’ band and continued to be led by Adolf Becker, until Adolf Berdien took over the position upon Becker’s retirement in the mid 1930’s and now, along with two rare performances by the Wehrmacht’s mounted Trompeter-Korps Reiter-Regt. Potsdam supported by the in-house military orchestras of the Odeon & Grammophon record labels, this evocative album contains 14 superb tracks including: Der alte Dessauer-Marsch, Allen voran, Hohenfriedberger Marsch, Marsch der finnländischen Reiterei and Kavallerie-Parademarsch that all German mounted-Musikkorps buffs will instantly recognise - and hopefully enjoy..!

Copyright @ Brian Matthews 2013


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