History of the Rainer March (composed 1914-1915)
Prof. Hans Schmid (1893 - 1987) composer
Hans Schmid later recounted the origin of the Rainer Regiment March: “I had already made the decision to compose a march for my own regiment in the first days of the war, in Rudno (Galicia). At this time, the "Deutschmeister" (Austro-Hungarian Infantry Regiment No. 4) already had its own regiment march, so why shouldn’t the 59ers also have their own “Rainer March,” I thought.
Said and done. I completed several drafts and selected the best melody thereof, and used the regiment signal in the introduction. In the second part of the trio (fortissimo), I incorporated trumpets into the general march. A fellow musician, Corporal Josef Schopper, wrote the original text to this composition at my request at that time. Soon afterwards, there were several different texts.
I orchestrated the march in autumn of 1915. It was – I remember it exactly – near Chorlupy inside a heavily shelled Orthodox chapel, in which I forced myself to work on this on a narrow church pew. Outside it was pouring rain. I was writing the notes for the various instruments with a pencil on music paper, two things I always managed to carry with me throughout the entire war. After the work was finished I returned at nightfall to my quarters, a self-made foxhole I shared with two comrades. I fell asleep with a thousand thoughts on whether or not the march would be met with approval.
The regiment drum major, Josef Dobes, practiced it the next day, and it was received with enthusiasm by all the musicians. During the practice, an enemy plane attacked and dropped some bombs nearby, but nothing happened. At that time, the regiment band was assigned to the Third Division Command (Edelweiss Division).
The Austrians were then advancing towards the East and reached the city Olyka. The band was quartered in the theater hall of the palace where the XIV Corps Command and other commands were located. There in Olyka, I was assigned to lead the regiment band. We were required to play an outdoor concert daily.
For the very first concert, the band, which was led by a new conductor – I was 22 years old at the time with the rank of sergeant – played the “Rainer March”. Corps Commander Field Marshall Lieutenant General Roth-Limanova and other generals were present. A powerful soldier choir sang in the trio, and the acoustic effects in the beautiful courtyard of the Olyka Palace were wonderful. The new march was met with high praise by the officers and soldiers, and needed to be repeated. From this point on, the "new Rainer March” was triumphant.
I dedicated my march to my regiment. In 1916, at Monte Cimone on the Italian Front, I was even able to present my Regiment Commander Colonel Maximilian Lauer with a printed piano score of this composition, including a dedication. The commander acknowledged this gesture by thanking the regiment.”
Today the original document rests in the Rainer Museum of Salzburg in the Hohensalzburg Fortress.
Source: "Hans Schmid 1893 - 1987 - Ein Komponistenleben" (Hans Schmid 1893 - 1987 – A Composer’s Life) by Karl Müller and assisted by Johann Müller