Mars, the Bringer of War hammers a fearsome, relentless 5/4 rhythm. Long unending phrases contrast with glittering martial fanfares, suggesting the "horror" and the "glory" of war. Interesting this piece was written before World War I commenced in 1914.
Three musical ideas are used to create this martial piece:
A brutally rhythmic figure of five beats relentlessly hammered out as an ostinato. Note this pattern is a distortion of a mark rhythm and heard in timpani, harps and strings who play the rhythm tapping the back of their bows on their strings. This is accompanied by a rumbling gong.
Opening theme A is introduced by bassoons, contrabassoons and horns.
Theme B introduced by trombone, tenor tuba and horns.
Theme C introduced in bar 66 by tenor tuba and trumpets with strong beats in the strings. It sounds like a battle fanfare and repeats a number of times with changes to the accompaniment.
Ends with the original ostinato but even more warlike in character. The warlike images in this movement are created by:
· the use of brass instruments
· march like themes
· loud dynamics and lots of clashing chords
· predominance of low register (pitch) instruments
· trumpet fanfares