The Band Music of Amilcare Ponchielli
The Glory of a Bandmaster
The "Victory" march ilustrates one of the most challenging aspects of editing Ponchielli's music for band. While the scores are certainly a second working out of the piece, they are replete with unfinished or inconclusive notation. As professional musicians, members of either band were fully capable of correcting minor notation errors, and Ponchielli himself would make any final adjustments in rehearsals. As only one set of Belforti-produced parts has come down to us, we cannot even be sure that he did not (in his role as the band's copyist) correct these errors on his own or in consultation with Ponchielli. To this end, Ponchielli's intent in the low brass and trumpets must be derived by adjusting several notes to achieve a reasonable solution to Ponchielli's intent in measures 70-73.
The extreme hierarchy of parts between principal and secondary players is evident in the march's trio. One impoetant note in comparing the critical and modern editions of these marches is the fact that Ponchielli had two rhythmic/harmonic sections at his command. The genis (tenor/alto horn) section of three players was augmented .and varied with the three to five lower trumpets. Also, it must be remembered that Ponchielli's trumpets were in E-flat and exactly the same length as the genis. If one wonders, the four "special" bands in Rome still maintain the basic instrumentation promulgated by Alessandro Vessella (1860-1929). Though now pitched in F, these are the true inheritors of the trumpets that Ponchielli had.
Performances: None can be ascertained