The Jäger March

The Jäger March (Jääkärimarssi in Finnish, originally "Jääkärien marssi") was composed by Jean Sibelius to the words written by the Finnish Jäger, "Hilfsgruppenführer" Heikki Nurmio in Libau, while in the Royal Prussian 27th Jäger Battalion of the Imperial German Army. This was fighting against the Russian Empire, of which the Grand Duchy of Finland was part. The words were smuggled into Finland to Sibelius, who composed the song. The first public performance was in Helsinki January 19 1918 by Akademiska sångföreningen, led by Olof Wallin. The Finnish Civil War began on the same day between the White and the Red troops. The march is the honorary march of many army detachments.

Note: This song contains some pretty old Finnish. Some peculiarities:

* hurmaten, hurmeisten. (hurmata) Nowadays "hurmata" means to charm, to be charming or enchanting. War cries, however, are rarely charming. There is a related, stronger word, "hurmos", which is a state where you are so enchanted or mesmerized by something that you no longer very well control yourself. It is a fairly rare word. Presumably what is meant here is being enchanted/excited by war, but at least in today's language, it sounds as if the songwriter were saying that war is bliss, which may or may not be the intention. "Hurmeisten", on the other hand, is derived from the obsolescent word "hurme", "gore", so "yli pauhun kenttien hurmeisten" is talking about fields of battle covered in blood and gore.
* "soma on sodan kohtalot koittaa". "Kun kohtalo koittaa" would be normal even today, if poetic. It means "when destined [to happen] ". However, the beginning actually means "it is sweet to face the fates of war". "Koittaa" is an obsolete form of the modern "kokea". In the end, the meaning is living through the times of war, seeing what kind of destiny lies before us. How exactly that is sweet is another good question. Perhaps it is in contrast to the thousand pains and dark night in heart.

External links

* [http://ingeb.org/songs/syvaisku.html"Jääkärien marssi"] Lyrics
* [http://steelmarch.net/music/FINN/Jaakarimarssi.mp3 complete choir version] (.mp3)
* [http://en.mil.fi/sotilasmusiikki/images/media.php?id=90&name=J%E4%E4k%E4rien+marssi "Jääkärien marssi"] (sound clip, 28 seconds, 488 kB, MP3) presented by Pohjanmaan Sotilassoittokunta (Pohjanmaa Military Band) in the [http://en.mil.fi/sotilasmusiikki/aani_ja_kuva/aani/index.dsp military music homepage] of Finnish Defence Forces
* [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M87R4y_JGj8 The Jäger March- new version]


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