The Festive Marches

Marcia No. 29, Palestro, Op. 175, PP.144.13

This march's title refers to the battle that occurred between Italian/French forces and Austrian forces on May 20, 1859 near the town of Palestro in the province of Pavia. The battle was an Italian victory, aided by the incompetence of the Austrian commander, Friedrich Zobel. Though undated, this march seems to have been composed for the band in Cremona. The principal clue is the absence of a part for flicorno basso. The original roster of the band noted that the man to whom the position had been offered had declined it. There are in fact three bombardino players, a combination that does not appear on the nameless roster of 1872.

The whole history of this position is marked by mystery as no name has yet come to light. The diary found in the museum in Paderno Ponchielli lists the name "Geremia Saltelli" as a flicorno basso player from Verolanuova. Whether Saltelli eventually accepted the position cannot yet be determined. With the rejection of Johannes Haagen (the dismissed Austrian bandmaster) from the audition in the harshest terms, the name of the soloist for the Concerto per flicorno basso remains unknown.

Also, this march has a very clear notation of a Fine and other notations that suggest a more carefully prepared score. Especially notable is the notation that the first repeated section of the trio is to be played pianissimo the first time and fortissimo the second.

While Ponchielli never listed this march on a concert by name, he did perform a march of the same name by Camillo Demarchi (1817-1881), also published by Ponchielli's publisher, Lucca..


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