Julius Fučík – Czech Republic’s forgotten composer

Julius Fučík, photo: Public Domain

Whether it is through the Entry of the Gladiators or the Florentine March, the music of 19th century composer Julius Fučík is known across the world. Although a prolific composer, with over 400 marches, polkas, and waltzes to his name, Fučík is relatively little known in his home country today. Perhaps partly, because of the fame of his nephew and namesake, who became a communist resistance icon during World War Two. In this Sunday Music Show we explore some of his most popular tracks.

Julius Fučík,  photo: Public Domain
Julius Fučík was born in Prague July 18, 1872. He learned to play the bassoon, violin and various other instruments when he was young and would go on to study composition under the tutelage of perhaps the most famous Czech composer Antonín Dvořák.

Fučík wrote mainly military music for most of his life. Many of his compositions have garnered worldwide fame and are played by military bands from the United States, Great Britain and his native Czechia.

He entered the 49th Austro-Hungarian Regiment as a military musician in 1891. During the 1890s, he also had a stint working as a choir conductor in Croatian city of Sisak, but would soon return to the army as the bandmaster for the 86th Infantry Regiment based in Sarajevo.

In 1900, after his regiment moved to Budapest, Fučík began to experiment with transcriptions of orchestral works. A few years later he composed the famous Florentine March.

In 1910 Fučík was named the bandmaster at Terezín, a military fort at the time, creating a top orchestra there. Three years later he decided to move to berlin where he wanted to found a music production company. However, shortly afterwards, in 1916, Fučík died aged only 44.