The Elegies

Elegies, poetic or musical, have a long and honorable tradition. Ponchielli's two contributions for band bear a close relationship to his funeral marches as both are set in the two-part form Ponchielli adopts for his funeral marches at the end of his career in Cremona. The Elegia funebre in onore di Felice Frasi was widely available in two- and four-hand piano versions. The original for band was likely the version done in 1881 upon the occasion of the dedication of a bust of Ponchielli's old teacher at the Milan Conservatory. The second work in this genre was dedicated to the great revolutionary, Giuseppe Garibaldi (1807-1882). The Town Council of Cremona commissioned this piece in 1882, generating a letter from Ponchielli inquiring about the instrumentation of the band in that year. Ponchielli had likely been in Cremona when Garibaldi visited in April, 1862. Cremona revered Garibaldi above Vittorio Emmanuale II (1820-1878) (Italy's king). Another Cremonese, Gaspare Trecchi, had been one of Garibaldi's officers. Ponchielli may have been further encouraged as he may have met Alessio Olivieri, the regimental capobanda who wrote the melody to the stirring Inno di Garibaldi upon which Sulla tomba is based. Olivieri died in Cremona in 1867.

Elegia funebre in onore di Felice Frasi, Op. 89

Sulla tomba di Garibaldi, Op. 160, PP.143.14