The Band Music of Amilcare Ponchielli
The Glory of a Bandmaster
The character of 2/4 marches is usually very light and merry, and March No. 13 is exemplary in this regard. With separate cornet and flugelhorn parts,this march is likely from the end of Ponchielli's brief career in Piacenza. One of the reason's the Piacentini were glad to be rid of him was Ponchielli's incessant pleadings to the mayor to improve the sound of the band by the acquisition/addition of a flugelhorn to the band. Here the two instruments play in unison or at the octave. Before the arrival of the flugelhorn, this "octave" role was fulfilled by the principal trumpet part. In March No.12 the first trumpet and lone flugelhorn perform in unison almost throughout.
The appearance of four (as opposed to the usual three) horns is unique to this score. In spite of our modern tendency to group horns into a quartet, Ponchielli usually had one genis (alto/tenor horn) and two horns as his preferred section.
The melodic content of this march includes a number of devices/gestures that are reminiscent of carnival music from the nineteenth century. In fact, the circus' calliope would take perfectly to many of the passages in this march, especially the second theme of the march beginning in measure 20. As an organist,Ponchielli must have felt these notes perfectly under his fingers as the band performed.
Performances:None can be ascertained.