Josef Wagner (composer)

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Josef Franz Wagner (20 March 1856 – 5 June 1908) was an Austrian military bandmaster and composer.[1] He is sometimes referred to as "The Austrian March King".[2]

He was born in Vienna on 20 March 1856, at that time the capital of the empire of Austria-Hungary. He studied with Johann Emmerich Hasel and, in 1874, he joined the band of Austrian Infantry Regiment No. 23 led by Philip Fahrbach jnr.[3]

As military bandmaster he served in 1878–91 with Infantry Regiment 47 in Trento in Tyrol, Vienna , and Marburg (Maribor) and Graz in Styria. Then in 1891-1899 with the Infantry Regiment 49 in Krems near Vienna, Mostar in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Brno in Moravia. During its stays in Krems and Brno, his military band often travelled to Vienna to give concerts and, in 1900, he set-up his own band there.[3]

Wagner composed approximately 500 works, mainly dance music and marches. He is best known for his 1893 march "Unter dem Doppeladler" (Op. 159) or "Under the Double Eagle", referring to the double eagle in the coat of arms of Austria-Hungary.[1] The march became a favourite part of the repertoire of American composer and bandleader John Philip Sousa, whose band recorded it three times.[4][5] The piece was the official regimental march of Austrian Artillery Regiment Number 2 until its dissolution in 2007.[1][6]

Wagner is also known for the march "Tiroler Holzhackerbuab'n" (Op. 356), or "Tyrolean Lumberjacks".[3] In 1895, his only opera, Der Herzbub, premiered in Vienna.[7] Also popular are his Gigerl March (op. 150) and 47th Regimental March (op. 180).

He died in Vienna on 5 June 1908.[3]

\relative c' { 
  \set Staff.midiInstrument = #"piano"
  \key f \major
  \time 2/4
   \partial 4 c f4 a8. a16 d8 r8 d4 c4 bes8 e, g4.
Tiroler Holzhackerbuab'n


  1. ^ a b c "PastMasters public domain web listing for Josef Wagner". Archived from the original on 2004-10-14.
  2. ^ Rehrig, William H. The Heritage Encyclopedia of Band Music, Volume 2. Integrity Press, 1991.
  3. ^ a b c d Anzenberger, Friedrich. "Wagner, Josef Franz". Oesterreichisches Musiklexikon online. Retrieved 8 April 2019.
  4. ^ University of California Santa Barbara: Encyclopedic Discography of Victor Recordings Matrix BVE-355. Matrix BVE-355. Under the Double Eagle march / Sousa's Band Retrieved August 23, 2011.
  5. ^ University of California Santa Barbara: Encyclopedic Discography of Victor Recordings Matrix B-355. Under the Double Eagle (march) / Sousa's Band Retrieved August 23, 2011.
  6. ^ "Artillerieregiment 2 wird aufgelöst –". Archived from the original on 2011-07-25. Retrieved 2011-05-05.
  7. ^ "Opera Composers: W".

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