A Musical Journey - Germany and England - Battle Music
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN
Wellington’s Victory
, Op. 91. I. The Battle. Op. 91. II The Victory. March No. 2 for Military Band.
Hungarian Attack March
(Battle of the Huns)
Mikhail Mikhailovich IPPOLITOV-IVANOV
Georgian War March

Le Coq d’or:
King Dodon on the Battlefield; Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh: Massacre at Kerzhenets
Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra/Ondrej Lenárd on Naxos 8.550230
No recording dates or venues given
Director: Adriano
Cameraman: H.T. Aschwanden
Video Format: NTSC. Colour: 4:3
Audio Formats: DTS 5.1. Dolby Digital 5.1. PCM Stereo 2.0
NAXOS DVD 2110547 [54:00]
This is a Naxos Musical Journey with a difference. There are no vistas of mountains, streams or snow-clad slopes and villages with music that often has little recognisable connection with the pictures, either by composer, mood or content. In this instance the pictures are very much related to the music being played. Pictures of toy soldiers in appropriate period uniforms feature prominently as do pictures of paintings of battlefields, all taken from museums. The start is the Tin Soldier Museum at Kulmbach and particularly London’s National Army Museum (CH.1). The latter includes paintings of the Duke of Wellington and generals, a drum bearing the name and insignia of King George IV, and a contemporary model of the battlefield at Waterloo. The music could not be more apposite.
The scene moves on in CH.2 to images commemorating the Duke of Wellington with the statue of The Iron Duke mounted on his famous fine steed. Also shown is his tomb in St Paul’s Cathedral as well as various statues and memorials to the great, but modest, general. The British nation, relieved at his success at Waterloo, wanted him to have a fine palace to go along with his Dukedom. In this there was an echo of those awarded to the Duke of Marlborough with the gift of Blenheim Palace to go with his elevation in an earlier generation. Wellington demurred and settled for a less grandiose home. However, the British people wanted a tribute to him in the traditional manner of a statue. The story of the several generals, and their vicissitudes since, are worth a read in themselves. Beethoven’s music takes the English National Anthem and weaves arrangements around the main theme.
Elsewhere the contents feature the Bavarian Army Museum at Ingolstadt with its relics of the Thirty Years War and of conflicts with the Ottoman Empire (CHs 6-9). There are some very fine preserved uniforms on show as well as 17th century Cavalry battle armour, which makes one think of the weight the poor horses had to carry. Like the battle burdens of earlier horses, the current Film and Play War Horse remind the viewer, as do some of the paintings shown, that it was not only men that died in those ferocious battles.
The orchestral choices are all apt and played with both gusto and brio by the forces of the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra under Ondrej Lenárd.
Robert J Farr
A Naxos Musical Journey with a difference and which I recommend to every proud Englishman in particular.