The Sinfonias

For Ponchielli the term "sinfonia" retained its eighteenth-century connotation of what would today be called an "overture." All but indistinguishable and included here are two "Fantasias" that are different in only a slightly looser structure. The Fantasia militare of 1863 was composed for the band in Piacenza and published that same year. A second Fantasia was written for the band in Cremona that (like the sinfonias) has no specific program. In fact the Fantasias are "tone poems" or "symphonic poems" after the model of Liszt or other nineteenth-century composers. Ponchielli's own Op. 108 Scena campestre of 1853 that comprised his final exercise at the completion of his studies at the Milan Conservatory was indicative of a new rigor that shaped his and subsequent generations of Italian opera composers. The two "sinfonias" are also gems of mid-nineteenth-century instrumental music with a decidedly "Italian" character. This same set of pieces includes the only instrumental setting of Ponchielli's overture to his opera La Savoiarda. Cast in a "Rossinian" mode, this dramatic work and a Ricordanze were the only operatic selections of his own that Ponchielli set for band. Il Gottardo was composed for orchestra and band in 1882. Though Ponchielli did not prepare the band version himself, its publication by Ricordi from a version by Raffaele Ascolese in 1882 may have had Ponchielli's approval as it closely follows his own practices. Further, Raffaele Coppola made a version for the Cremona band from the piano reduction.

Fantasia Militare, Op. 116

Fantasia originale per banda, Op. 126, PP.141.14

Sinfonia, Op. 106, PP.141.5

Sinfonia per Banda, Op. 153, PP.143.9

Sinfonia Savoiarda, Op. 4, PP.95.5

II Gottardo, Op. 159