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Marble Surface

Karel Komzak II

The President March, Op. 300

Arr. CPE Strauss

00:00 / 04:28

My orchestration from the Bosworth piano score, published in 1906.

I am a bit confused. Komzak opus numbers are confusing at the best of times, with all three generations of Karel Komzaks using the same set of numbers. There are gaps and omissions and it can be difficult to tell who wrote what. According to most opus number lists, the Komzaks’ opus 300 is the Francis March, by Karel Komzak II. Even the list of opus numbers given by the publisher Bosworth lists it as Opus 300. I have a genuine looking Bosworth piano score of the President March (title in English) “nach patriotischen Amerkanischen Liedern”, by Karl [sic] Komzak.

In 1904 Karel Komzak II took his band to the St. Louis World’s Fair and had a great success. Komzak’s music was played at Theodore Roosevelt’s inauguration ball the following year. This march is just the sort of thing you’d expect him to write (in about five minutes) to play on the tour. It is possible that the two marches are the same. I haven’t seen a score of the Francis March. It seems unlikely.

Komzak II died in 1905, and this was published in 1906, so perhaps someone was looking in his desk drawer for music to publish. Why the same publisher would issue two pieces with the same opus number is beyond me though.

Anyway, Karel (probably) and I (certainly) have had some fun with some very familiar American tunes. The South may have lost, but it got the best tune, and I ain’t just whistling Dixie!

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