05 December 2023
Post originally written in: Deutsch Information An automatic machine translation. Super fast and almost perfect.

December 8th in Innsbruck's cultural life is traditionally marked by the Original Tiroler Kaiserjägermusik. For around 40 years, the historical music formation has been holding its annual gala concert at Congress Innsbruck.

It's probably not just me: Whenever I see the Tiroler Kaiserjägermusik, I feel transported back to the Austro-Hungarian Empire. And rightly so, as a historical review shows.

The Tiroler Kaiserjäger

and Maximilian's Landlibell

The term 'Kaiserjäger' alone is interesting. After all, it is a troop that ultimately emerged from the Tyrolean military constitution, the 'Landlibell' of Emperor Maximilians I. in 1511. The Landlibell granted the Tyroleans the right to perform military service only within their own province. No war involving Tyrol could be started without their consent.

First it was the 'Tiroler Landmiliz', then the 'Tiroler Landbataillon' and finally, in 1745, the "Tiroler Feld- und Landregiment Nr. 46", which defended Tyrol. The "Fenner-Jäger-Korps" emerged from the latter in 1803. Finally, Emperor

Franz I. 1816 decreed that the "Fenner-Jäger-Korps" be renamed the "Tiroler Kaiserjäger Regiment", although it only existed for around 100 years. It perished with the Austro-Hungarian monarchy.

An imperial reception with timpani and trumpets

When Emperor Franz I arrived in Innsbruck from Paris on October 19, 1815, he was welcomed by two battalions of the 'Fenner-Jäger-Korps' in addition to the rifle companies. This was the first time that a parade was accompanied by its own band, which had been hastily put together by the 'patriotic composer' Johann Baptist Gänsbacher shortly before the emperor's visit. And so the Tyroleans welcomed their emperor with timpani and trumpets at the 'Imperial Parade'. The 15-piece band performed in the usual formation of the time with contrabassoon, a kind of 'giant version' of the bassoon. Perhaps the Emperor took the opportunity to rename the 'Fenner-Korps' the 'Kaiserjäger'? That would be quite possible.

The Kaiserjäger anthem

The Tyrolean Kaiserjäger first became really famous through their 'anthem', the Kaiserjäger March. There is hardly a band in the German-speaking world that does not have this march in its repertoire. The musical director of the 1st Tyrolean Jäger Regiment in Innsbruck, Karl Mühlberger, composed the march in 1914, making it one of the most famous old Austrian military marches. A march that can also be sung along to loudly. It is therefore logical that every gala concert of the Original Tiroler Kaiserjägermusik opens with the imperial anthem and then the Kaiserjägermarsch.

The resurrection of the Tiroler Kaiserjägermusik

With the fall of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, the Kaiserjägermusik also perished. It then took 53 years until the 'Original Tiroler Kaiserjägermusik' was re-established in 1972. The declared aim then, as now, was "the preservation of the old Austrian military music tradition". In the meantime, the music formation has matured into a household name not only in Tyrol, but throughout the German-speaking world. In some cases, intensive contacts are maintained with other, quasi-historical military bands such as the 'Original Hoch- und Deutschmeisterkapelle' and the 'Rainer-Musik Salzburg', a former Imperial and Royal regimental band. This coming February and March, the 'Original Tiroler Kaiserjägermusik' and the Rainer-Musik will be giving a 'double concert' in Salzburg and Erl respectively.

Committed to the military music tradition

Normally, one associates traditional military music primarily with the playing of tight marches. But that would be far too short-sighted, as Norbert Amon explains to me. The graduate of the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna has been the band's musical director since 2022. In any case, he also includes ceremonial music, classical music and church music in his field of activity. "We are committed to tradition. This means that our program includes traditional marching music in the authentic sound of Austro-Hungarian military music as well as classical operetta music. Our repertoire also extends to classical music, and even to the Renaissance in church music," he explains with pride.

Operetta sounds of a military band

There is a simple reason why Austrian military bands are also traditionally dedicated to operetta music: the melodies of famous operettas were often arranged for wind bands so that they could be played in public places. Whether Franz Lehar, Carl Michael Ziehrer or others: The crème de la crème of Austrian society loved to hear their melodies played by melodious brass bands. This is also the reason why Original Tiroler Kaiserjägermusik is also very fond of the Viennese waltz and polka.

The musicians of the Kaiserjägermusik come from all over Tyrol

The 50 or so musicians of the Tyrolean Kaiserjägermusik "actually come from all over Tyrol", as the band's chairman Peter Brandstätter tells me. It's an incentive for good musicians to be there, he says. The musicians are able to cope with the ten or so annual outings and 25 rehearsals alongside their commitments in other, mostly local bands. Brandstätter is proud of the fact that "we can finance ourselves mainly through performances and sponsors." Which is no mean feat, considering that the bandleader's parade hat alone, with its thick cock feather plume, is worth around 10,000 euros.

Tickets for the gala evening on December 8th

It is a cherished tradition of the re-established Tiroler Kaiserjägermusik to invite guests to the annual gala evening at Congress Innsbruck on December 8th. The conductor of the Kaiserjägermusik, Norbert Amon, is continuing another tradition, namely that of arranging classical pieces of music. "For this year's performance by two vocal soloists and a wind soloist, I've just finished that."

So you can look forward to the performance of this band, which is committed to the history of Austrian military music, on December 8 at Congress Innsbruck. In any case, advance ticket sales have already begun. Tickets can be purchased online via Oeticket.com: https://www.oeticket.com/event/galakonzert-2023-congress-innsbruck-17083636/

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