Rudolf Herzer

The concert march Hoch Heidecksburg was composed in 1912 by Rudolf Herzer. He was from Thüringen area of Germany and he named the march after the Heidecksburg Castle in Rudolstadt, where he was stationed with the third battalion of the 96th Infantry Regiment. The march was also sometimes known as Heil Heidecksburg and was subtitled The Watchtower - apparently because this part of the building towered above the rest of the beautiful castle. (The castle originally dated from the ninth century, but was rebuilt in 1735 and has since been converted into a museum)

When his march was first performed in 1912 before top brass, it was not well received. It can only be assumed that he was ahead of his time, and it may not have sounded sufficiently military in style. Herzer, a non-commissioned officer, was to resign from army life and move to Berlin, but when the first world war broke out, he rejoined and on 20 October 1914 he was critically wounded and died in an army hospital.

Little was known about him until a study of his life in 1985, but he did compose other works because his famous Hoch Heidecksburg was listed as Opus 10.

To this day Hoch Heidecksburg is the most played march in Germany, not just by military bands, but it is frequently heard at beer festivals, university functions, and in concert programmes.

Click for soundtrack of Hoch Heidecksberg