Julius Fučík (pronounced "Foo-chick") was a Czech
composer who lived from 1872 – 1916 and was a conductor
of military bands. Today his marches are still played
as patriotic music in the Czech Republic. However, his
worldwide reputation rests on this one work: the Opus
68 march, the Entrance of the Gladiators (Vjezd
gladiátorů), which is universally recognized,
often under the title "Thunder and Blazes", as one of
the most popular theme tunes for circus clowns.
"Entrance of the Gladiators" or "Entry of the
Gladiators" was originally titled it "Grande Marche
Chromatique," reflecting the use of chromatic scales
throughout the piece, but changed the title based on
his personal interest in the Roman Empire.