The Festive Marches

Marcia No. 9, Op. 118, PP.141.8

March No.9 is one of the Piacenza marches. Aside from its single cornet instrumentation, Ponchielli noted that it was composed April 7, 1864 in Piacenza and then re-copied in Cremona on March 31,1865. The coincidence of the date with the three scores Ponchielli commissioned from Johannes Haagen (Marcia No. 5,Marcia No. 6, Polka Il Viaggio dell'Luna) suggests a pedestrian reason for the outsourcing - Ponchielli did not have enough time to copy all four scores.

This score demonstrates on of Ponchielli's peculiarities. He begins the score with relatively close attention to dynamics and articulations. Later,however, he offers hardly any at all, relying on his skill as a conductor and the professionalism of his bandsmen to achieve a satisfactory musical performance. Another Piacentine characteristic is the ambiguous Fine. Normally, one expects it at the end of the march; however, Ponchielli does mark the Fine at the end of the Trio in other early marches. The rhythm in the final measure of the trio seems a pattern that Ponchielli favors in other final measures.

To many listeners this march may seem "Italian" by its frankly Tarantella-like melodies. Ponchielli adds to the "peasant" nature of the piece by placing a B-natural against a B-flat pedal in measure 65 in the Trio. In measure 78, Ponchielli writes a C4 for the A-flat clarinet where the proper transposition for the unison trill is a D4. The mistake would have been caught immediately in rehearsal, even in the sectional rehearsals that preceded the full band rehearsals. Like so many "errors," it is a product of the velocity with which Ponchielli worked and the relatively low importance or need of a precisely edited score.


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Date on score: April 7, 1864, Piacenza

Performances: None can be ascertained

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