York'scher Marsch (Beethoven)

Beethoven’s York’scher Marsch is one of a collection of three tattoos (WoO 18-20) and has had a chequered history, to say the least. There are several autograph copies, for different instrumentations and dedicated to different archdukes who were commanders of various regiments of the army.

It was composed (initially without the trio) in 1809 dedicated first to Archduke Anton and later to the Boehmische Landwehr. In 1810 Beethoven rescored it for Archduke Rudolph as part of the celebrations of his daughter’s christening.

It was published (still without its trio and, apparently, Beethoven’s knowledge) in 1818 by Schlesinger in Berlin as part of a collection of marches for the use of the Prussian Army and called Marsch des Yorkschen Corps, which is how its current title arose.

Beethoven added the trio in 1822, as part of an unsuccessful attempt to prepare four marches for publication, but Peters were not interested and the complete march remained unpublished during the composer’s lifetime.