Licia Sirch and Henry Howey - The Doctrine of a Critical Edition of the Band Music of Amilcare Ponchielli :: Philomusica on-line :: Rivista di musicologia dell'Università di Pavia


Contributo di Licia Sirch and Henry Howey


The Doctrine of a Critical Edition of the Band Music of Amilcare Ponchielli




The idea of a critical edition of the music of Ponchielli has been recently begun as the result of a series of different intersecting factors. To begin with, there is a considerable musical corpus: 82 original works [See Appendix A] and more than 120 arrangements of works by other composers are extant from a possible 400 works listed in the programs of more than 350 concerts from the years 1865-1873. More than 98 per cent of the sources are autographs conserved within the Biblioteca Statale in Cremona. Thus we have today a splendid collection that is very accessible. However, nearly 20 years of effort were necessary to arrive at this point.[1] An example of this is the band version of the well-known Il Convegno for two clarinets that was lost in the shelves of the Museo civico for many years. A bridge between the piano version (1857) and the orchestra version (1873), the band version seems to have been prepared for the band in Piacenza (1861-64) and copied by Johannes (Giovanni) Haagen (or Hagen), an Austrian player and composer leader the band of Cremona from 1844-1859 and then vice-maestro of the musicians.[2] Even more exciting is a copy of Il Convegno found in Parma, the home of Vincenzo Franchini, an A-flat clarinetist in both the band in Piacenza and the second band in Cremona. Franchini is an excellent candidate to have been one of the soloists. While Haagen’s manuscript is known in the band collection, there is no present certainty that Franchini was the copyist of the version from Parma.[3] [ex. 1a & 1b] In an already unique musical corpus, this latest discovery merely illustrates the problems dealing with music held closely and only in manuscript.


Some years ago, that is to say before the 1990’s, very little was known about Ponchielli’s activities as capo-banda at Piacenza and Cremona from 1861 to 1873,[4] and documentation that could be used to reconstruct the historical events was very limited.[5] In the following years historical and archival research of the great Italian “band” phenomenon of 19th century[6] (and on the activities of bands in Cremona[7]) have altered this situation. Further, thanks to the readjustment of the catalogue in the Biblioteca Statale of Cremona[8] (and not in the least) to Dr. Howey’s database of the band’s concert repertoire drawn from a newspaper (Corriere Cremonese) and manuscript programs in the State Archive,[9] we have arrived at the present situation in which the whole body of Ponchielli’s music for band can be seen and placed in a historically documented context.[10]


This repertoire serves as a touchstone for the Italian band tradition of the 19th century. All of the genera are represented: quickstep and funeral marches, concertos, dances, glosses on various operas (only one of Ponchielli’s own operas), arrangements of overtures, and scenes of popular operas of the day. As noted, 82 works qualify as “original” and span the entire range of the genera represented. [See Appendix A.] Also for these reasons this collection is emblematic of the various roles performed by Italian band in 19th century: source of popular entertainment and education, spreader of civil values and ideas of the Risorgimento, and disseminator of opera. As noted, the wind band functioned as a pre-radio technology for the popular diffusion of music and its benefits.




The revival of interest in this music has been a direct result of Dr. Sirch’s catalog and the never-ending quest by performers to have new and exciting repertoire to perform. To this end, practical (though not necessarily accurate) versions of the brass concertos have been accomplished and performed. Not the least of these is Professor Howey’s first efforts in the Concerto per flicornobasso in 1992.[11] Along with Professor Max Sommerhalder, both have produced parallel editions of all four major brass solos, including piano reductions and orchestral transcriptions.[12] The various versions have been performed and recorded around the world over the last fifteen years. Presently, Professor Howey has transcribed all 82 pieces intended for the critical edition, as well as three of the opera scenes of great interest to brass soloists such as Gabriele Cassone,[13] Colliard Corrado, Steven Mead,[14] and Crispian Steele-Perkins.


An exhaustive search of the philological record has produced an awareness of the unique conditions of Ponchielli’s repertoire. Only four works, Elegia per Felice Frasi, Marcia funebre per i funerali di Francesco Lucca, Fantasia militare and Marcia funebre “Alla memoria mio Padre”[15] were published from Ponchielli’s period as capo-banda but as piano reductions. The later Marcia funebre per i funerali di Manzoni (1873), Sulla tomba di Garibaldi (1882), and Il Gottardo (1882) were written only after Ponchielli had left Cremona.[16] With the exception of the march Milano,[17] and Il Gottardo,[18] no other pieces became generally available in publication. Several other works of interest survive only as copies, though the copyists can be identified. Most prominent of these are Giovanni Haagen and Ponchielli’s successor Raffaele Coppola[19] who made several.[20] In one or two instances, only Coppola’s copy survives. There is however a measure to be used in assessing Coppola’s work as there are two works where both Coppola’s copy and the autograph survive. These are the Marcia funebre No. 1 and the Concerto per flicornobasso. [ex. 2a, 2b, 2c, 2d]

All of these copies or editions display errors that render them a challenge to any editor. Even the Fantasia militare (published in Ponchielli’s lifetime) exhibits an ignorance of Ponchielli’s scoring practices. The bulk of the errors made by these individuals develop from a lack of familiarity with Ponchielli’s manuscript techniques and his predilection for certain types of self-inflicted errors. In his capacity as Maestro, Ponchielli had two principal responsibilities: to prepare music for the band to perform and to conduct rehearsals and concerts. The list of traps for the unwary transcriber is lengthy; however, a familiarity with Ponchielli’s (and his copyists’) penchant for time-saving practices will elicit information equal to the depth of one’s study.

As mere “brani per banda musicale,” the already notorious penchant of the Ricordi firm for making errors in the operas of Verdi becomes clear to one who has seen numerous examples of Ponchielli’s own autographs. In any event, any 19th-century copy must be approached with particular care and a full awareness of its potential pitfalls. Not the least of these considerations was that Ponchielli seems to have considered these works trifles whose usage (even in repeat performances) was transitory and ephemeral. Ponchielli’s attitude towards these pieces was that they were for the moment, not the ages.

The following list of occasions for error or misunderstanding is neither complete nor exhaustive; however, it will only grow as more of Ponchielli’s scores become transcribed into digital programs on their way to utility. Most of these “errors” are the result of the frantic pace (especially April-September) to provide repertoire before the days of copy machines and inkjet printers. Even difficult virtuoso pieces such as the Variazione Carnevale di Venezia had as little as two weeks to prepare. The end of the score states its completion as “11 Aprile 1868.” In the database of concerts, its premiere is 26 April in the Piazza Cavour. [ex. 3]

For a musician of Ponchielli’s skills, the score was useful as a means of transmitting his composition to the band members through the medium of his copyist/editor. Presently, only one incomplete set of parts prepared for Ponchielli’s band exists. The work, the overture to Ruggero Manna’s La Vergine di Kermo, is notable among Ponchielli’s transcriptions in its detail. Its twelve appearances in the years 1868-1873 make it one of the most performed works. The extant parts, however, are in excellent condition. There is no means short of an exhaustive (and distracting) examination to determine any editing by Ponchielli’s copyist. Suffice it to say that these parts, original or not, are from an autograph score with considerable detail and thus beg the question of any detail added by Francesco Belforti whose role as copyist considerably augmented his salary as Tromba di spalla. [ex. 4a, 4b score page and part]

The rehearsal structure of the Banda nazionale is known from the new regulations of 1865. Sectional rehearsals under the principal players were followed by full rehearsals with Ponchielli. In these several levels of preparation, one may assume that the various errors were corrected. The problems arising in this edition of works will be multitudinous, and the accompanying list cannot begin to present all of them. A description of several problems and the procedures used for them will illustrate the process.

One early problem dealt with the later handling of the score for the Concerto per tromba. Ponchielli often fills the margins of a page with notes. The longest cadenza in the work was covered at a later date by someone binding the score. The “hidden” notes reappear when this scrap is photographed with a light source behind it. [ex. 5a, 5b]

While many pages of music are simple solo and accompaniment, Ponchielli uses the many parts of the band to great effect with pages of great complexity. One of the marvelous effects of modern notation software (here FINALE) is the ability to hear these pages with timbre and dynamics. [ex. 6a, 6b, 6c[21]]

An obvious requirement of any edition is the right notes. Considering the speed and volume of production (400 works) between mid 1866 and January-March of 1873, Ponchielli often leaves an editor wondering whether a note was on a line or space. Also, considering that the scores were approximately A4 size in a landscape position, staves and notes are miniscule, and an error of even a few millimeters can create a wrong note. When ledger lines are included, the occasion for error rises geometrically. For this problem, technology can be very helpful: digital images can be enlarged and the playback function of FINALE reproduces sounds, even if virtual, so a wrongly interpreted note in one part can be heard, and the remainder of the score can be used to find a double of the note in error. When no doubling is found, the harmonic context provides the means to make the “line or space” controversy disappear. The very few unique examples that do not suggest a ready solution can be handled by a textual note. [ex. 7, Dinorah, p. 39]

Errors in transposition are also a hazard when one considers that Ponchielli must master transpositions containing up to five embedded flats. His use of accidentals seems haphazard as some of the “helping” accidentals are redundant. An explanation of these errors might be that Ponchielli (who was an organist) used the “C” clefs for his transpositions and forgot about the embedded flats. [ex. 8, Trovatore Fantasia, Trumpet part is in E-flat, not F as in other pages.]

Another problem with accidentals is their appearance in only one part where several instruments need them. Again, the playback features of modern notation programs are invaluable in solving this problem.[ex. 9, compare clarinets and horns]

Rhythmic notation is very time consuming, so Ponchielli creates an “editor’s nightmare” in too many very busy passages. Particularly when a note and a rest are required, many of the parts participating in a particular rhythmic pattern will only show a single note of value equal to the actual desired notation. [ex. 10] Are the trombones with the high trumpets and clarinets or the low trumpets?

By the mid-19th century articulations were considered a necessity to good order in score/part preparation. As in the case of rhythmic notation, parts sharing the same musical events often lack a full set of articulations and slurs. One curious notation practice of Ponchielli is the use of staccato notes in the clarinets while the brass have accents. This practice is repeated often enough that it must be considered an aesthetic choice. [ex. 11]

Dynamic markings are rare enough that one may presume these were given by Ponchielli from the podium. Crescendo-diminuendo markings are also rare or in only one part. Because there is no continuing tradition of performance associated with any of these pieces, our preference for an ideal interpreter is an individual steeped in the Italian tradition in both opera and instrumental music. [ex. 12]

The excellence of the Banda nazionale under Ponchielli and Coppola adds to the difficulty of these works. Only in the clarinets are found notations of tremolos that can only be interpreted as requiring a delicate rapid articulation. Today such skills are associated with only the most accomplished performers such as Giuffredi Corrado from Parma. All of the players (including students filling out a section) were expected to accomplish this difficult multiple-tongue technique. [ex. 13a, 13b]

One very curious aspect of the lone existing photograph of the band is the difficulty in finding a clearly seen clarinet mouthpiece. This is important, as “reed-on-top” has long been believed to have been the tradition in 19th-century Italy. The sound produced by this setting was very powerful and coarse. The principal players in the band were intended to teach as part of their duties as principal players. Actually there is one clarinet mouthpiece to be seen, and it appears the reed is on the bottom. [ex. 14]

That Ponchielli had a “scratch” copy of his intentions prior to the final score can be seen by the many uses of a shorthand to indicate repeated or inserted measures. Letters and drawings abound. [ex. 15a, 15b]

Ponchielli eschews the normal practice of “da capo” and “dal segno” in favor of complex instructions such as are shown below. [ex. 16]

Phrasing is a great problem as Ponchielli uses it in the same matter as all other aspects. Occasionally, he notes phrases that are physically impractical to accomplish. [ex. 17, p. 6 of Concerto per Tromba]

One great concern has been the failure by many performers to realize the bel canto tradition that is one of the great qualities of Ponchielli’s music. Of particular concern for Dr. Howey is the failure by colleagues to realize that the details of phrasing contained in his edition of the Concerto per flicornobasso are precisely as notated by Ponchielli. The theme and accompanying variations become only difficult (not impossible) if Ponchielli’s own phrase markings are interpreted properly with time added to breathe after the fourth measure as Ponchielli notes. [ex. 18, Concerto per Flicornobasso, p. 21]

Another problem arises from the instrumentation of the band as it evolved under Ponchielli. Low (or no) interest loans to band members by the city for instruments and uniforms were an important part of the new regulations of the band. The addition of flugelhorns, genis (alto horn in E-flat), clarone (bass clarinet), and pelittone (contrabass tuba) are to be found in many pieces after 1868. The third trombone part is often left vacant with or without instructions to double the highest part for the bass tubas. [ex. 19]

The bass clarinet part usually doubles the bombardinos; however, a lone solo does exist. [ex. 20, P. 15, Trovatore Pot-Pourri]

The genis (alto flugelhorn or “tenorhorn”) functions as a melodic instrument either in octaves with the cornet or flugelhorn or in unison with the flicornobasso or bombardino. The poor horns are never allowed to do more than supply harmonic/rhythmic roles. Occasionally the normal three horns are left to sort out four (or more) notes from the score. One never reads of a student (allievo) on the horn part, so three horns was never exceeded. [ex. 21]

The performance of these works is problematic at best. Modern B-flat trumpets are capable of sounding all of the notes played in these scores; however, their timbre is quite a bit lighter and brighter than the mezzo-soprano E-flat instruments they replace. The A-flat clarinet was Ponchielli’s own choice as the top voice, and, in a list of names scribbled in a score, Ponchielli places the name of Vincenzo Franchini at the very first on his list. [ex. 22]




Beyond the issues already discussed in detail, the over-reaching problem relevant to this repertoire remains its performance traditions and its particular instrumentation. The instrumentation of Ponchielli’s band (as has been noted) was the result of his own local experience as there was no “Italian” standard as such at that time. This would occur gradually toward the dawn of the 20th century with the “Vessella reforms.”[22] The situation in the second half of the 19th century was fluid, viz. the theoretical writings of Domenico Gatti[23] and Amintore Galli.[24] Another proof for this situation may be found in the “stage band” of the 19th-century opera theatre where the band was sketched merely as a two-stave score by the original composer that was realized by a local composer according to the resources of that community.[25] In this light we can assert that (as regards the instrumentation of any piece for the band) that local conditions (that is, the band in each community) were recognized by each individual composer in its variety and insurmountable limits. As for Ponchielli and his autograph scores, we know that his instrumentation choices were “contingent,” not “absolute.” Ten years after leaving the band and his hometown (1882), the city fathers of Cremona commissioned the Elegia funebre per Garibaldi from Ponchielli for which he requested “the organization of the city band in score order to familiarize myself with any changes in the number and kind of instruments.”[26] As early as November 2, 1865 in the Progetto della pianta organica,[27] we can observe the elements and principles that led to the “Ponchielli” band: “all bands, not only these of the military, are in continual transformation.”[28] Above all, these concerns had to “balance the solo and accompanying instruments regarding harmony and musicality.”[29] This means (from this document) that a band’s instrumentation must be balanced not only by the timbres of the instrumental families (e.g., for Ponchielli the bright ringing of the “fanfare” trumpets versus the darker, opaque, melancholic flugelhorns of those times) but also among the melodic instruments (e.g., trumpets, cornets, clarinets, alto/tenor horns), and the accompaniment instruments (e.g., clarinets), and the harmonic/rhythmic instruments (e.g., horns and tubas). Further, he considers the interchangeability between flugelhorn and cornet, horn and alto/tenor horn, A-flat clarinet and piccolo, trombone and baritone/euphonium. The choice of one instrument rather than its equivalent can be due to factors independent of its intrinsic features and qualities, rather the selection may be due to the ability of a particular performer available to a composer.

Returning to the corpus of Ponchielli’s band music, one may infer from the numerous contemporary copies of Ponchielli’s band works with instrumentations different from the autographs (and only these) that they not be judged too severely and discarded out of hand insofar as they convey Ponchielli’s intent. On the contrary, they must be examined very carefully as evidence of the dissemination of Ponchielli’s music and help to resolve some of the problems discussed above. The selection of arrangements by other composers must be confined to only his pieces for band. Any band arrangements of his operatic, choral, or orchestral repertoire by other composers will not be considered for the critical edition. Particularly important to this study will be the late 19th-century copies made in Cremona for the purpose of conserving the autograph scores for rehearsals and performances. With the near-mythic status Ponchielli achieved in Cremona with the success of the second version of Promessi sposi and his removal to Milan to dedicate himself to the operatic stage in 1873, any manuscripts or other tangible evidence of his local activities shared in this adulation. The care lavished upon these “preservationist” copies (particularly by Raffaele Coppola) makes them an additional resource for the critical edition. While human error (beyond that of Ponchielli himself) might compound the problems of unintentional errors, ambiguities, or lack of critical markings, these copies are valuable resources as their existence witnesses the longevity of the tradition begun by Ponchielli. Their value aside, their contribution to the critical edition must be weighed carefully by the editor(s).

Related to the above discussion there lies a concurrent problem overall: that of the considerable changes in the instrumentation of the band (variety and quantity) between today and the 19th century. The obsolescence of several of the instruments used by Ponchielli and the use in the present-day bands of instruments, like saxophones, quite unknown to the Italian bands of that age, mean that modern performances cannot hope to recreate the sonority of a 19th-century band. The performance of Ponchielli’s scores from a critical edition prepared with the best practices available to modern philology – “the consideration of a musical text with the purpose of realizing its critical restoration, equally giving credence to its relationship with its composer as much as to one who has benefited from and borne witness to its tradition, and, by thus making it [his own], as he interpreted it from time to time” (as defined by Maria Caraci Vela[30]) – and technology is the goal of this project. Given the improbability of modern bands acquiring the instrumentation of a 19th-century band in order to reproduce its sonorities (not to mention the wait for the reproduction of accurate copies of these instruments), we propose an interim solution consisting of a “practical” performing edition useful to a modern band on a CD-ROM. For the model of an “outdoor” band, we are planning to base the edition for modern band on the published editions of the marches of John Phillip Sousa as it represents a continuing tradition of an “outdoor band” from the 19th century to today. In spite of the reforms by Alessandro Vessella (1860-1929) in the Italian band tradition at the beginning of the 20th century, this American model seems to have become the norm throughout the world and will encourage the spread of this marvelous repertoire. While the critical edition will leave Ponchielli’s instrumentation unaltered, a “modern” version based on the critical edition will be offered in parts and score on an accompanying compact disk in the Acrobat format that will accompany the printed critical edition. In spite of its practicality as regards instrumentation, it will otherwise be in concordance with the purpose and criteria of the critical edition. Further, this solution will insure a measure of quality control based on the critical edition, not to mention the possible inclusion of images of the sources on CD or on a website.

We must consider Ponchielli’s own trascrizioni (a more correct word would be “instrumentations”) of operatic and instrumental works by other composers in light of this discussion of the actual instruments of his band.[31] This characteristic (tout court) portion of the repertoire of the 19th-century Italian band is inconceivable in a version for a modern band. Any re-instrumentation for modern band would have the effect of erasing Ponchielli’s contribution, his original instrumentation. The necessity of historically-advised performances with original or reproduction instruments becomes evident here as this is the only way to approach Ponchielli’s concept of performing vocal pieces with only instrumental resources. These works will not be edited but will be provided in digital images on a CD-rom. As noted above, the transcriptions for band of Ponchielli’s other pieces by others will not be considered.

The genre of pieces variously referred to as “fantasie, ricordanze, potpourri, etc.” merit close attention as they are not mere collages of the work of other composers; rather, they are real, surprising elaborations by Ponchielli pleasing to the ear and fun to analyze.  [Listen to Appendix B, Appendix C][32]

On this subject there are several cases that are ambiguous and must be considered separately. One of these is the Concerto per clarino di Domenico Mirco (add 50), which Ponchielli himself characterizes as “ridotto per banda” on the autograph score. By this one might assume it to be one of several virtuosic works for clarinet of great interest to the clarinet community. As demonstrated in research undertaken by Fred Ormand, the actual situation is both more complex and interesting. The piece is an orchestration for band of a “concerto” of the then contemporary Italian sense, a “variazioni su un tema” or variations for clarinet and piano composed by Domenico Mirco on a “Venetian popular theme,” precisely on the barcarola Vieni, la barca è pronta by Giacomo Bortolini (?-1875).[33] In addition to the re-orchestration, Ponchielli adds an altogether newly-composed introduction. This piece with its threefold “stratified” parentage should qualify for both critical and modern band editions.

Until 1989 (the year of the publication of the thematic catalog) Ponchielli’s popular Il Convegno (a Divertimento for two clarinets) was known from the 1857 autograph for soloists and piano,[34] the 1857 edition published by Lucca, the 1865 (if not earlier) autograph score for orchestra,[35] as well as a number of manuscript arrangements for band by various individuals dating from the turn of the last century.[36] A comparison of the two versions of 1857 (autograph and Lucca edition) reveals a significant difference in the second clarinet part in the Presto finale in 3/8.[37]

The discovery in a concert announcement in the pages of Corriere Cremonese of an 1865 performance of a “Concerto originale per due clarini-Amilcare Ponchielli” in the Piazza Cavour,[38] spurred a re-examination of the archives in Cremona. The score that was found was entitled Il Convegno,[39] and though it was not an autograph, the “hand” of the copyist was readily identified as Giovanni Haagen’s, who was (in 1865) Ponchielli’s Vice-maestro or Second Leader. There are several copies of Ponchielli’s arrangements (from Piacenza?) in Haagen’s hand from this era that are already accepted as “authorized” copies whose autographs are lost. The archives of the city band of Parma contains a “twin” of this score in too many ways to not to be recognized as such. A list of details are beyond the scope of this paper; however, the archaic score order (horns over trumpets), instruction to double the cornet part with flugelhorn, and the peculiar absence of Ponchielli’s particular favorite – the A-flat clarinet – are but a few of the reasons to suspect a “missing link,” Ponchielli’s autograph. The “archaic” nature of this piece further marks it as having a Piacenza origin. The State Archive in Piacenza has a series of autograph letters by Ponchielli to the mayor in which he argues for an improved instrumentation of that city’s band. The December 1872 performances are doubly documented. The newspaper announcement of the concert is mirrored by an autograph program signed (for Ponchielli) by his second Vice-maestro, Bissocoli. It is one of several programs from this period signed by Bissocoli or Cesura (also self-identified as “Vice-maestro”).

Looking carefully, moreover, at some pages of Haagen’s manuscript, we can see a few touches of Ponchielli’s hand which infer he used this score for a performance of the piece.[40] [ex. 23] And again we can take in consideration that this work – in Ponchielli’s version for orchestra and for chamber and also in those ones for band which prolong the life of this piece until the first years of 20th century – was always popular with players and public: today it is in the international repertoire, and there are some recordings.[41]

The Fantasia sulla Traviata for solo cornet and band has become very popular recently. Its inclusion in the catalogue was never questioned as its status as a copy was never considered a handicap. Its true status was both clarified and confused in a single day. The published program in the Corriere Cremonese and the later discovered autograph programs in the State Archive in Cremona reveal that Ponchielli always shared authorship with a “Pasciuti” who still cannot be identified conclusively. In the pair of programs for Ponchielli’s last (of three) concerts with this piece, he re-arranges the authorship to “Pasciuti-Ponchielli”. The simultaneous publication of an article announcing the existence of a pristine (unused) autograph score in the library of the Milan Conservatory repeated the “Ponchielli-Pasciuti” authorship in a work for trumpet in F and band.[42] [ex. 24; ex. 24a; ex. 25; ex. 25a] This relatively late composition (1869) has only three documented performances between July 1869 and November 1871. Recently-viewed documents in Cremona’s State Archive from 1882 indicate that the post of solo cornet (never mentioned in Ponchielli’s band) had supplanted the first trumpet as the highest-paid brass soloist in the band. The copyist (post c.1880) cannot be presently named, though the cornet version reflects the “preservationist” tradition of copies and the continuing evolution of the structure of the 19th-century Italian band. It is a wonderful joke if you know Traviata and, in this case, the source chosen for the critical edition will be the autograph version for trumpet, but the version for cornet will be documented as well in light of the continuing evolution of the band even during Ponchielli’s brief lifetime.




The realization that this edition is without precedent in the practice of philology has only intensified our several efforts to see it accomplished. Met with the entire gamut of human reaction from indifference to enthusiasm, our efforts were rewarded when we encountered the reaction of a truly intuitive musician. Upon being asked his impression of Ponchielli’s waltz Voluttà del Ballo, he responded, “Non è bello, è magnifico!”

Denied a place in opera history by his premature death, it is only right that Amilcare Ponchielli should be remembered by a repertoire he wrote for the first citizens of a new Italy, full of hope, patriotism, and Italy’s gift to the world: music.


[1] The first notice of the discovery of many manuscripts was given by Licia Sirch, “Manoscritti di musica per banda di Amilcare Ponchielli,” Nuova Rivista Musicale Italiana 22 (1988): 211-214, and L. Sirch, ed., Catalogo tematico delle musiche di Amilcare Ponchielli (Cremona: Fondazione Monteverdi, 1989).

[2] Sometimes he signed his copies with a pencil so now it is possible for us to recognize his hand.

[3] See also the second part of this article.

[4] Pier Maria Trucco, “La banda di Cremona e la sua illustre tradizione,” Cremona 5 (1933), n. 8: 1-15.

[5] To see the different consistency between the present list of Ponchielli’s music for band and the old one, it is enough to compare the former to the entry “Ponchielli” in the first edition of Grove’s (Fedele D’Amico, “Ponchielli, Amilcare,” in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 1st ed., ed. Stanley Sadie (London: Macmillan, 1980), XV: 75-77); even so, this one was a very good starting point to research the sources of Ponchielli’s works.

[6] Roberto Leydi, “Diffusione e volgarizzazione,” in Storia dell’opera italiana, ed. Lorenzo Bianconi and Giorgio Pestelli (Torino: EDT/Musica, 1988), VI: 301-92; Antonio Carlini, “Le bande musicali nell’Italia dell’Ottocento: il modello militare, i rapporti con il teatro e la cultura dell’orchestra negli organici strumentali,” Rivista Italiana di Musicologia 30 (1995), n. 1: 85-133 and idem, “Le bande a Milano nella seconda metà dell’Ottocento,” in Milano musicale 1861-1898, ed. Bianca Maria Antolini (Lucca: Libreria Musicale Italiana, 1999): 283-310; idem, “La banda, strumento primario di divulgazione delle opere verdiane nell’Italia rurale dell’Ottocento,” in Verdi 2001: Atti del Convegno internazionale, Parma-New York-New Haven, 24 gennaio-1° febbraio 2001, ed. Fabrizio Della Seta, Roberta Montemorra Marvin, Marco Marica (Firenze: Olschki, 2003): 135-43; Marino Anesa, Dizionario della musica italiana per banda. Biografie dei compositori e catalogo delle opere dal 1800 a oggi, 2nd ed. (Gazzaniga, BG: ABBM, 2004).

[7] Nino Albarosa¸ “Amilcare Ponchielli, ‘capomusica’ a Piacenza e a Cremona (1861-1874),” in Amilcare Ponchielli 1834-1886: Saggi e ricerche nel 150° anniversario della nascita (Soresina: Cassa Rurale ed Artigiana di Casalmorano, 1984): 93-124, and Claudia Devotini, “Inventario del fondo della banda musicale del Comune di Cremona” (diss., Università degli studi di Pavia, Scuola di Paleografia e Filologia Musicale di Cremona, 1998-1999).

[8] Raffaella Barbierato, “Gli indici del ‘Fondo ponchielliano’ nella Biblioteca Statale di Cremona,” Annali della Biblioteca statale e Libreria civica di Cremona: Studi e bibliografie 7 (2005): 109-42.

[9] This database has made us aware of nearly 200 works that are lost, several of which fall under the heading of “original” works.

[10] See Licia Sirch, ed., Ponchielli e la musica per banda: Atti della tavola rotonda, Ridotto del Teatro Ponchielli 27 aprile 2001 (Pisa: ETS, 2005), including an update of the thematic catalogue by Raffaella Barbierato, I manoscritti ponchielliani nella Biblioteca Statale di Cremona: novità ed integrazioni (pp. 355-435). New entries are numbered as add (addenda).

[11] Amilcare Ponchielli, Concerto per flicornobasso, ed. Henry Howey (Annandale, VA: Tuba-Euphonium Press, 1992); see also Henry Howey, “The Revival of Amilcare Ponchielli’s ‘Concerto per flicorno basso’, Opus 155, Cremona, 1872,” T.U.B.A. Journal 23 (1996), n. 4: 42-49.

[12] Amilcare Ponchielli, Concerto per tromba in fa, ed. H. Howey (Irving, TX: Cimarron Music & Productions, [n.d.]); idem, Fantasia per cornetto su La Traviata, ed. H. Howey (Irving, TX: Cimarron Music & Productions , [n.d.]); idem, Concerto per cornetto, ed. H. Howey (Irving, TX: Cimarron Music & Productions, [n.d.]); idem, Concerto for Euphonium and Band, ed. Max Sommerhalder (Crans Montana: Marc Reift, 1992).

[13] Amilcare Ponchielli, Concerto per banda, Prf. Luca Valenti, Gabriele Cassone, Banda Civica Musicale di Soncino (Milano: Stradivarius, 2001 [STR 33591]).

[14] Amilcare Ponchielli, “Concerto per flicorno basso,” in The World of the Euphonium (Polyfonic Reproductions, 1997 [QPRZ 019D]).

[15] Bibliographic references on these works are in Sirch, Catalogo tematico, and in Barbierato, Manoscritti.

[16] They were published by Ricordi only in piano arrangements.

[17] Amilcare Ponchielli, Milano, Marcia, arr. by G. Iasilli (New York: Di Bella, [1913]).

[18] In an arrangement for solo band by Raffaele Ascolese (Milano: Ricordi, [1882]).

[19] Raffaele Coppola (1841-1910) was Ponchielli’s successor from 1875 to 1897.

[20] Il Gottardo, op. 158a, PP.94.6; Sinfonia op. 106, PP. 95.6; Sinfonia op. 107, PP.115.1; Fantasia originale op. 126, PP.95.7; Ricordanze dell’opera La Savoiarda op. 127, PP. 95.4; Carnevale di Venezia, 15 variazioni op. 140, PP.123.4; Canto greco, 10 variazioni op. 144, PP. 135.14; Sinfonia in Si bemolle op. 153, PP. 95-9; Voluttà del ballo, valzer op. 154, PP. 95.8; Ricordanze dell’opera ‘Luisa Miller' op. 178, PP. 95.1; Sinfonia dell’opera ‘La Savojarda’ , op. 4, PP. 95.5; Gran pot-pourri sull’opera ‘Il Trovatore', ADD 17, PP.56.3; Marcia funebre n. 1, op.172, Ms.Civ. 81; Marcia funebre n. 12, op. 145, PP. 94.7; Marcia funebre n. 2, op. 173, PP. 94.2; Tabe senile, marcia funebre n. 7, op. 179, PP. 94.5; Concerto per flicorno basso e banda, op. 155, Ms. Civ. 85. These copies kept in Cremona, Biblioteca Statale are generally signed by Coppola.

[21] Listen to the variation for the bells.

[22] Alessandro Vessella, “Sulla evoluzione storica della partitura di banda,” in Atti del Congresso internazionale di scienze storiche (Roma: Tip. della R. Accademia dei Lincei, 1903), 8: Atti della sezione IV: Storia dell’arte musicale e drammatica, [1905]; idem, Ancora di un più razionale ordinamento delle musiche militari italiane: considerazioni e proposte di riforme (Roma: Tip. Fratelli Pallotta, 1894); Marino Anesa, “Non solo Vessella: altre voci nel dibattito sull’organico bandistico italiano fra Ottocento e Novecento,” I fiati 2 (1995) n. 5: 38-43, n. 6: 38-40, n. 7: 42-44, and idem, “Il dibattito sull’organico bandistico italiano fra Ottocento e primo Novecento,” in idem, Dizionario della musica italiana per banda,  II: 437-70.

[23] Domenico Gatti, Gran trattato d’istrumentazione storico-teorico-pratico per banda (Napoli: Cromolitografia V. Steeger, [ca. 1881]).

[24] Amintore Galli, Manuale del capo-musica: Trattato di strumentazione per banda (Milano: Ricordi, [1889]).

[25] Licia Sirch, “Trascrizioni, pot-pourri, fantasie, ricordanze di brani d’opera. Aspetti drammaturgici e formali,” in Ponchielli e la musica per banda, 155-56.

[26] “La pianta della Banda Municipale in ordine di Partitura onde sapermi regolare, caso mai il Corpo mus.e avesse subito delle modificazioni per il genere e quantità degli strumenti.” Cremona, Archivio Statale (I-CRa), Comune di Cremona, Banda Municipale, b.1277.

[27] More details of this documents are discussed by Licia Sirch, “Ponchielli e la musica per banda. Introduzione,” in Ponchielli e la musica per banda, 25-27.

[28] “Tutte le bande musicali, non escluse quelle militari, sono in quasi continua trasformazione.”

[29] “Il necessario equilibrio fra gli strumenti di canto e di accompagnamento, sia nei rapporti dell’armonia e dell’effetto musicale.”

[30] “La riflessione su di un testo musicale allo scopo di procurarne la restituzione critica, valutandone sia il rapporto con l’autore sia quello con chi nel tempo ne ha usufruito e lo ha tramandato e, così facendo, lo ha di volta in volta interpretato”: see Maria Caraci Vela, La filologia musicale. Istituzioni, storia, strumenti critici. I: Fondamenti storici e metodologici della Filologia musicale (Lucca: Libreria Musicale Italiana, 2005), 17-19: 18.

[31] For his ‘transcriptions’ for band, generally Ponchielli used the vocal scores or reductions for solo piano of the operas which were easily available in Ricordi or Lucca editions. The word Ponchielli used in his scores for band to specify his work, was “riduzione,” but in the case of Variation on themes of Elisir d’amore di Donizetti by Ernesto Cavallini (ADD 33), he wrote “instrumentazione.” See Sirch, Trascrizioni, pot-pourri, 150-52.

[32] These appendices are several pages long with accompanying mp3 files and also some digital images of the autographs of two «glosses» on Verdi operas: Appendix B: Gran Capriccio dell’opera Rigoletto, Library Number: 142.1, Catalog Number: 128. First found in a program for 1865, it is likely from the Piacenza band. Between 1865 and 1873, it was performed 17 times. To see the score: AppB1; AppB2; AppB3; AppB4. Appendix C: Pot-Pourri sull’opera Il Trovatore di Verdi , Library Number: 58.15, Catalog Number: ADD17. To see the score: AppC1; AppC2; AppC3; AppC4; AppC5; AppC6; AppC7; AppC8; AppC9. The name «variatione» was quite common in Ponchielli's concerts. For a comment see Sirch, Trascrizioni, pot-pourri.

[33] Fred Ormand, Forgotten Gems: Ponchielli’s Compositions for Clarinet, in Ponchielli e la musica per banda, 255-90: 267-68.

[34] This manuscript (now in Archivio Storico Ricordi, I-Mr, T.ii.64/3) presents a ductus which does not look properly that fluid of Ponchielli’s maturity. Here the intent of the author’s hand is the clarity for Lucca’s engraver of the plate.

[35] The dating here proposed is based on the number “65” written at the end of the composition (I-Mc). This kind of dating, which looks like a reminder, is infrequent in Ponchielli’s manuscripts where usually we find more detailed dates (when they occur), but this manuscript looks a little more than a sketch: there are many deletions and corrections, the staffs for the clarinets are almost always blank and they leave us to suppose Ponchielli considered the clarinet parts like acquired, because notated in other sites. Certainly here Ponchielli’s hand is young. A case quite similar to this one is that of the autograph of the orchestral version of Quartetto op. 110A. See Licia Sirch, Le tre redazioni del quartetto per fiati op. 110 di Amilcare Ponchielli, in Problemi e metodi di filologia musicale. Tre tavole rotonde, ed. Stefano Campagnolo (Lucca: Libreria Musicale Italiana/Una Cosa Rara, 2000): 159-68.

[36] To this list must be added the Ricordi reprint of 1890.

[37] Ormand, Forgotten Gems, 256-60.

[38] On 4th September 1865.

[39] I-CRs (Cremona, Biblioteca Statale), PP.141.3. A list of the sources of Il Convegno is available in: Ormand, Forgotten Gems, 285-86.

[40] The pages of the manuscript are not numerated. Our numeration begins from the first page of the score. See [7], [8], [9], [21], [32], [55], [56], [57]. In the ex. page [32].

[41] E.g. in The Italian clarinettist (London, ASV, 1983 [ASV ALH 942]), Donald Watson, clarinet; Amilcare Ponchielli, Il convegno: divertimento for two clarinets and piano, ed. David Hite (San Antonio, TX: Southern Music Co. c1991 [LC Call No.: M317.P8C6 1991]); Il convegno. Amilcare Ponchielli Première Recording of Solo Works for Winds, dir. by Fred Ormand (Copenhagen: Danacord, 1996 [DACOCD 471]); Ponchielli musica da camera (NuovaEra, 1996 [7275]), Luigi Magistrelli, clarinet.

[42] I-Mc (Milano, Biblioteca del Conservatorio “G. Verdi”), TM.52, cfr. Agostina Zecca Laterza, A proposito di fondi musicali. Gli ultimi doni alla Biblioteca del Conservatorio di Milano, in Una piacente estate di San Martino. Studi e ricerche per Marcello Conati, ed. Marco Capra (Lucca: Libreria Musicale Italiana, 2000), 481-96: 495.

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