Despite having lived abroad for many years, Wagner had a singular love for his country, one that only grew stronger when the Germans emerged victorious from the Franco-Prussian War. He composed the Kaisermarsch (Imperial March) in 1871 to glorify the newly proclaimed emperor, Wilhelm I, who attended the piece’s premiere. A tremendously powerful composition, it was originally scored for military band with a choral finale. But Wagner was adamant that the hymn he wrote for the choral ending should be reserved for special occasions, and so he later wrote an orchestral arrangement to replace the vocal parts.
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