Entrance of the Gladiators
"Entrance of the Gladiators" or "Entry of the Gladiators" (Czech: Vjezd gladiátorů, German: Einzug der Gladiatoren) is a military march composed in 1897 by the Czech composer Julius Fučík. He originally titled it "Grande Marche Chromatique," reflecting the use of chromatic scales throughout the piece, but changed the title based on his personal interest in the Roman Empire.
In 1910 Canadian composer Louis-Philippe Laurendeau arranged "Entrance of the Gladiators" for a small band under the title "Thunder and Blazes", and sold this version throughout North America. It was during this period that the song gained lasting popularity as a screamer march for circuses, often used to introduce clowns. Today it is known mainly by this association, even though the title and composer are relatively obscure. Laurendeau's version was also transcribed for fairground organs. The march receives the occasional concert hall performance, such as at the 2007 Last Night of The Proms.
Generally, the march is divided into three parts. The first part contains the melody that the trumpet keeps and the several supporting parts. The second third is the section where the low brass (mainly the tubas) take over with the chromatic scale like role. Finally there is a trio, or a slow melodic section, where there is a strong balance between woodwinds and low brass. The trio has a part similar to the second third with a chromatic scale like sound. The piece is written in cut time and is originally written to be played at standard march tempo; however, when played as a screamer it is usually played much faster.
In the 1964 Disney film Mary Poppins, during the animated sequence of the penguins, a fast version of the "Gladiator's March" is played, with Richard Sherman on a kazoo.
James Darren's 1961 hit "Goodbye Cruel World," makes use of the "Gladiator's March" intertwining a female voice with a recorder.
Leon Russell's 1972 hit "Tight Rope," makes use of the "Gladiator's March," instead, as a slow version, played by Leon on the piano, in the Instrumental Break section, before singing the rest of the Bridge for the second time.
The 1974 song "Sideshow" by the soul group Blue Magic, featured a slow version of the first 10 notes of Introduction of the "Gladiator's March", played twice by the horns, during the Introduction of the song, featuring a master of Ceremonies saying: "Hurry!! Hurry!! Step right up, see the Sideshow in town for only 50 Cents".
Parts of the theme were incorporated into Boots Randolph's "Yakety Sax", which, following the circus theme, is often associated with comedy acts, notably on The Benny Hill Show; and also in "Puppet on a String".
Gwen Stefani's "Don't Get It Twisted" from her 2006 album The Sweet Escape makes use of the theme in the song's main hook.
See also 
- Latten, James E.; Chevallard, Carl (September 2004). "Review: Teaching Music Through Performing Marches". Music Educators Journal (MENC_ The National Association for Music Education) 91 (1): 62–63. doi:10.2307/3400112. JSTOR 3400112.
- Edward Seckerson (2007-09-11). "Last Night of the Proms, Royal Albert Hall, London". The Independent. Retrieved 2008-09-21.