17 Oct: The Sound of the Circus

The traditional music for the circus, “Entrance of the Gladiators”, wasn’t actually written for the circus at all, instead when it was composed on 17th October, 1899, it was in fact intended to be a military march.  

Julius Fučík composed it, in part, to showcase the cutting-edge capabilities of the era’s brass instruments, which had become quicker and more precise than ever before. 

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly investigate how a sober military march ended up being associated with clowns and trapeze artists; explain what circus music would have sounded like before big bands took over; and reveal which song you should listen out for that traditionally tells circus performers if there is a fire or an escaped wild animal…  

Further Reading:

• ‘Julius Fučík ‘Entrance of the Gladiators’: Roll Up Roll Up!’ (Clasicalexburns, 2020): https://classicalexburns.com/2021/10/15/julius-fucik-entrance-of-the-gladiators-roll-up-roll-up/ 

• ‘Circus Music History and Facts’ (History of Circus, 2020): https://www.historyofcircus.com/circus-facts/circus-music-history-facts/ 

• ‘Julius Fucik – Entry of the Gladiators’ (The Wicked North, 2005):