• The Glory of a Bandmaster

    The Glory of a Bandmaster

Potpourri sopra motivi dell'opera

Gemma di Vergy

Op. 139, PP.142.12

Gemma de Vergy is classified as a tragedia lirica, based on a novel by the novel by Alexandre Dumas (pere). After its 1834 Milan premiere, it remained popular into the 1860's. Its story will strike modern audiences as quite odd. The heroine, Gemma, is to be set aside as childless. The new woman is treated quite gently, and the husband is a total villain.

26 performances over a five-year period indicate that this work was very popular with Cremona audiences. Aside from Donizetti coming from Bergamo, another city in Lombardy, his operas were very popular with Ponchielli who emulated a number of Donizetti's conventions. The arias are the most immediated comparison, as Ponchielli and Donizetti set the soloist in a dramatic background with just a touch of bel canto.

The band in early 1868 was still the band originally constructed in 1866. The flicornobasso/bombardino pairing indicates that the likely soloist of the Concerto per flicornobasso was already in the band. The demanding flicornobasso variations in the Carnevale di Venezia likely were still to be added as later interpolations. All in all, this must be considered one of the works from the period of great comfort with the band's resources. Ponchielli may have finally been reconciled to his fate as he gathered strength for his breakout year of 1872.

Date on score: Tuesday, Februry 25, 1868, 10:30, Cremona

Performances: Saturday,March 15, 1868, Piazza Garibaldi; Sunday, April 19, 18968, Piazza Cavour; Sunday, April 26, 1868, Piazza Cavour; Sunday, June 21, 1868, Secondo baluardo dell pubblico passegio; Sunday, November 1, 1868, Piazza Cavour; Sunday, November 22, Piazza Garibaldi; Monday, May 29, 1869, Piazza Garibaldi; Sunday, April 4, 1869, Piazza Garibaldi; Thursday, June 24, 1869, Piazza Garibaldi; Thursday, July 29, Piazza Garibaldi; Thursday, September 9, 1869, Piazza Cavour; Sunday, February 20, 1870, Piazza Garibaldi; Sunday, March 13, 1870, Piazza Cavour; Sunday, May 8, 1870, Secondo baluardo dell passeggio pubblico; Sunday, June 19, 1870, Pubblico passegio; Sunday, July 31, 1870, Pubblico passegio; Sunday, October 23, 1870, Piazza Cavour; Sunday, April 30, 1871, sull'area della chiesa demolita di San Domenico; Thursday, May 25, 1871, Piazza San Domenico; Sunday, October 8, 1871, sull'area della chiesa demolita di San Domenico; Sunday, December 10, 1871, Piazza Garibaldi; Sunday, June 30, 1872, Passegio pubblico; Sunday, February 9, 1873, Piazza Roma; Sunday, February 16, 1873, Piazza Roma; Monday, September 1, 1872, Piazza Roma; Saturday, November 1, 1873, Piazza Roma.


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