The Festive Marches

Marcia No. 7, Op. 169, PP.144.7

Marcia No. 7, Op. 169 is one of a group of unnamed marches that Ponchielli composed for the band in Piacenza. Their "orphan" status is the result of a very real need for new, Italian marches for the newly independent and still-growing modern state. Obviously, Ponchielli's musical imagination far outstripped his poetic skill. In this lone regard, Ponchielli may be a lesser march composer than John Philip Sousa who never seemed to be at a loss for a title, or even a second or third.

The instrumentation is one of the important clues to the historical placement of this march. Though Ponchielli calls for a flugelhorn, it is known that he often meant it to be doubled by a cornet and vice versa. Also, the more demanding role for the bombardino marks this as a Piacenza work. The flicorno basso invariably has a supporting role in the Piacenza marches. Further, this is one of a few marches where the flicorno basso is written in treble clef. Among the most prominent of these pieces is Ponchielli's instrumentation of his II Convegno for band when he calls for two treble clef flicorni bassi.



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