Morning Music: Die Bosniaken Kommen

Die Bosniaken Kommen - Eduard WagnesOne of the writers I work with is from Bosnia. And I wanted to complement him on something he had written by quoting Patton, “Rommel, you magnificent bastard, I read your book!” This particular writer is actually quite well known and only works for us as a kind of favor. Since I know his other work, I know what kind of things he would do a very good job on, and I was very impressed with something he had written and I wanted to use the line. If I knew him really well, I could have just written, “You magnificent bastard, I read your book!”

The whole thing ended up in an exchange about Rommel. He seems to know a great deal about the wars of the last century, which isn’t exactly surprising, given that he lived through the Bosnian War himself. Anyway, he mentioned that Rommel became famous on the Isonzo front — I believe in the Battle of Caporetto in particular. He wrote, “Due to the extremely harsh terrain, the Central Powers had to deploy elite mountain infantry… As a tribute to their gallantry, Die Bosniaken Kommen march is still played at Austrian military events.”

I don’t like to pass up any opportunity to do something different for a morning music. So I grabbed onto it. We’ll get back to Merle Haggard tomorrow. But today, we’ll listen to this march. I find it curious that marches aren’t used more in the teaching of music theory. You can see in them so clearly two-part counterpoint. And from there you can add the harmonic structure. But I suppose the use of Baroque music is more pure.

Die Bosniaken Kommen was written by Eduard Wagnes in 1895. According to Wikipedia, it is “played on all military events in Austria.”

4 thoughts on “Morning Music: Die Bosniaken Kommen

  1. Rommel’s part in Caporetto takes up the last four chapters in his book Infanterie Greift An (Infantry Attacks), largely because of the success of his indirect-approach infiltration tactics.

    But…that didn’t inspire Die Bosniaken…, which were the Bosnian – and almost exclusively Muslim – troopers in the Austro-Hungarian Army.

    My understanding is that the Bosniaks weren’t ever deployed as mountain troops; they were four regiments of regular line infantry and a light infantry outfit. The Kaiserschützen – largely mountaineers from the Austrian Tyrol – were the Bergstruppen of the KuKM.

    So…great piece of music. But not even six degrees of connection between the music, the Bosniaks, Rommel, and Caporetto…

    • The relation was about why the march was performed. Clearly, the march was written 20 years earlier. Otherwise, you’ve totally confused me, so I yield the point. The main thing is that I got to post the march!

      • And it IS a great march. The KuK might have been pretty awful at actual fighting, but they did write great marching tunes…

        And the deal isn’t really all that confusing; your friend was simply wrong.
        1. The Bosniaks were regular line infantry, just a bunch of Muslim grunts from Bosnia. They DID fight in north Italy, but so far as I know not in the vicinity that Rommel was engaged at during Caporetto.
        2. Rommel and his outfit at the time, the Württembergisches-Gebirgs-Bataillon, were part of the German mountain troop command, the Alpenkorps and not the Austro-Hungarian army.
        3. So…the reason that the Austro-Hungarian (and, now, Austrian) Army played and still plays Die Bosniaken is because it’s a great march, not because it has anything to do with Caporetto, or Rommel in particular…

        • Well, I’ll leave that all to you. Military history is hard for me. Too many loose ends. But what I’m saying is that I didn’t necessarily get the story straight. Then again, this may be a question of perspective. Bosnians might see the feats of their own people in a more positive light. Although I never saw how it related to Austria, which is probably a sign that I got the story wrong.

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