Il Convegno

Composer: Ponchielli, Amilcare Arranger: Howey, Henry
Instrumentation: Duet Instruments: Clarinet
Genre: Classical

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Il Convegno
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    This version for band of Ponchielli’s Il Convegno – The Conversation was prepared for his first band in Piacenza between 1861-1864. Though the piano version had been dedicated to Alessandro Peri (b. 1814) and Massamiliano Sacchi (1812-1859), the soloists for this band version were principal clarinet, Celeste Celesti and A-flat clarinet, Vittorio Franchi. After 1864, Peri and Franchi were the likely soloists in Cremona. The 27-member band in Piacenza was barebones, requiring skill and endurance. This score is based on two principal resources - a band score in the Biblioteca statale in Cremona and the autograph score of the piano version held in the Ricordi Archives in Milan. An autograph score of the band version remains lost. The score order has been re-arranged for modern practice, and modern keys of instruments have been chosen. 

    Ponchielli wrote several letters to the mayor of Piacenza to complain that the band was too small for the concert spaces of that city. When he moved to Cremona (21 miles away), he received enthusiastic support and had a band of 37, which he deemed sufficient for the concert spaces there.

    There is no documentation how scores from Piacenza were adapted to Cremona except for some scores suggesting how to add a Pelitone (BB-flat tuba) to the group. As only one set of parts from that era remains, one can never know. The Bombardone in the score are E-flat or F bass tubas.


    Any modern performance of this work should remain within the general parameters of the original bands. While such groups of varied instrumentation are classified as “wind ensembles,” they are still bands.


    The percussion consists of snare drum, bass drum, and crash cymbals. “Cassa sola” means “only bass drum.” “Tutti” indicates that the cymbal part is to be tastefully performed from the bass drum part. One percussionist performed both parts in Ponchielli’s bands.


    For greater authenticity, the “Flicorno” part was preferred by Ponchielli to be played and doubled by a flugelhorn and a cornet. There is an autograph letter in the State Archives in Piacenza where he states this.

    The solo clarinet parts are derived from the autograph piano score held in the Ricordi Archives. Many errors that were made by Ponchielli himself in preparing the autograph solo parts were carried to those published parts. The solo parts here reflect 14 hours of work correcting these parts. The most significant discovery was the omission of the word “lusingando” – “flattering” at measure 170. The autograph parts and published parts required the two soloists to stop and simultaneously turn to the next page. At this point they agree. In a chamber setting with piano, the audience understands and responds with laughter. However, a performance in a larger setting one can clarify the occasion better by having the soloists shake handsand then turn the page.

    Il Convegno has been a staple of the clarinet repertoire since its publication in 1857.

    This edition allows new generations of clarinetists to perform it anew,


    Henry Howey

    November, 2016


    More Information
    SKU CM3316
    Price 125.00
    First published 2018
    Delivery PDF download, Shipped (printed)
    Composer Ponchielli, Amilcare
    Arranger Howey, Henry
    Instrument Clarinet
    Instrumentation Duet
    Genre Classical
    Grade 4
    Duration 5
    Publisher Cimarron Music Press
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