Josef Wagner (composer)

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"Under the Double Eagle", played by the U.S. Navy Band

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

He is best known for his 1893 march "Unter dem Doppeladler" 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.[3][4][citation needed] The piece was the official regimental march of the Austrian Artillery Regiment Number 2 till its dissolution in 2007.[1][5]

The tune was parodied in the Benny Goodman recording "Benjie's Bubble", and was also used for the well-known Monty Python's Flying Circus animation segment "Conrad Poohs And His Dancing Teeth". The first part of the march is used in the 1992 computer game Great Naval Battles: North Atlantic 1939-1943 when Germany is selected in the gameplay.

"Under the Double Eagle" is well known in country music, having been recorded by a number of guitar and banjo players, several of them identified with the Bluegrass style.

Wagner is also known for the "Holzhackerbuam", also known as the "Jolly Lumberjack Polka". In 1895, his only opera, Der Herzbub, premiered in Vienna.[6]


  1. ^ a b c "PastMasters public domain web listing for Josef Wagner.". 
  2. ^ Rehrig, William H. The Heritage Encyclopedia of Band Music, Volume 2. Integrity Press, 1991.
  3. ^ 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
  4. ^ 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
  5. ^ "Artillerieregiment 2 wird aufgelöst -". 
  6. ^ "Opera Composers: W". 

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