Julius Purcell

Tunes of vanishing glory

Just as Gustav Mahler wove a bugle fanfare into his symphonies, so Joseph Roth wove martial music into his novels. In Roth’s case, it was invariably Johann Strauss’s ‘Radetzky March’, a signature tune which tum-te-tums through his earlier fiction and then becomes the title of this, his 1932 masterpiece. For Roth, like Mahler, military tunes