Under the Double Eagle (German: Unter dem Doppeladler) is a military march composed by Josef Franz Wagner during the last decades of the 19th century (probably around 1880). I have found a recording that was made on an Edison cylinder in 1899 on the archive.org site (see below).
Some years later around 1908 the famous Sousa Band of John Philip Sousa has made a recording of Under the Double Eagle on a 78 record. So this march became very popular in the USA, and today many people think that it has been composes by Sousa and not by the Austrian Josef Franz Wagner.
Zefren Presents the 1908 Under the Double Eagle with the Sousa Band
Im beginning to fancy the older records I come across. It is a known fact that John Phillip Sousa refused ever to conduct his band for a recording. His reasons may not be clear but I think there is one reason he may refused, and that is pride. When I recorded this recorded at 74 RPMs the recording time was about 2 minutes and 40 seconds. The playback was like the rushed almost impossible to play piece and Im using my experience playing in a brass band. I slowed the playback until I felt satisfied which was around 62 RPMs! If I was a conductor and recorded a piece at my satisfaction and then heard it played backed at a frantic pace I would probably not want my name to be sullied by the recording medium too. Victor would have had its customers play the record back at 78 RPMs. So even though Sousa wasnt there to conduct the spirit of his band lives on in this 1908 recording that was finally released by Victor in 1911.
You can find more historical recordings of Under the Double Eagle as youtube videos – I have added some of those to my playlist at the end.
Although this march was intended for a typical marching band it does also sound very nice if played with mandolins and guitars. I like the following recording by the french mandolin ensemble Ensemble a Plectre de Stiring-Wendel very much.
Sous l’aigle double
Marche composée par J.F. Wagner et arrangée par Ch. Feret. Interprétée par l’ensemble à plectres de Stiring-Wendel.
The melody of the second and third part of Under the Double Eagle can also be played very well on the guitar. I guess that recordings by Chet Atkins and Roy Clark have made this march popular for Country and Bluegrass music in the USA. Today it is played on all kind of instruments, including guitar, mandolin, banjo, accordion, hammered dulcimer and piano.
I have found many interesting videos and collected those in my playlist. My favorite mandolin version is played by Donna Stoneman:
Under the Double Eagle – Donna Stoneman: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YvlMf_iurWk
Playlist Under the Double Eagle – Unter dem Doppeladler
Additional Information / Sheet Music
Sheet music from an Austrian site for two instruments: http://www.stammtischmusik.at/noten/unterdemdoppeladler.htm
Sheet music – melody and chords: http://www.dulcimers.com/tunes/under2.html
Sheet music – guitar TABs: http://www.traditionalmusic.co.uk/american-guitar-tab/under_the_double_eagle.htm
Sheet music for Piano – Scan of an American edition (search for “double eagle”): http://levysheetmusic.mse.jhu.edu/collection-search
Wikipedia about Josef Wagner (German): http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josef_Wagner_%28Komponist%29
Wikipedia about Josef Wagner (Engl.): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josef_Wagner_%28composer%29
recording from 1899 (Edison cylinder) at archive.org: http://www.archive.org/details/edbw-19