Franz von Blon (1861-1945)
Von Blon was a lifetime Berliner and unlike many German composers of his era, he was a march composer. He introduced harmony into more modern compositions, with memorable trios, thus allowing the whole march to be capable of enjoyable repetition with melodic inventiveness. This set him aside from most of his German contemporaries and thus he is of interest to lovers of Viennese music, much in the same way as Julius Fučik. His marches were never written for the parade ground. As a youth he was a violin player and attended Stern’s Conservatory of Music and studied with Joseph Joachim but his background stemmed from his military service from 1880 to 1883, when he started to compose and transcribe music for military band. He then continued to study in Berlin and Hamburg and later founded the Berlin Philharmonic Wind Orchestra, which unusually contained some stringed instruments. With this orchestra he became famous, touring Europe and America, including the St Louis World’s Fair in 1904, which was also attended by Karl Komzák. His compositions were not restricted to marches: he wrote many characteristic pieces, including his Sizilietta Serenade and he wrote at least 2 operettas.