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Amilcare Ponchielli (1834-1886)
Divertimento for two clarinets
Fame came to Ponchielli late in life with the writing in 1878 of La Gioconda. In his earlyyears he had a series of upsets over musical appointments and until his aspirations as an opera composer could be realised held a variety of posts as organist and conductor. He wrote Il Convegno (which might be translated as The Get-together ) while he was conductor of the Municipal Band at Cremona in 1868. It was composed specially for, and dedicated as a mark of true affection to, his friends A. Peri and M. Sacchi , who gave the first performance with band under his conductorship the same year. Peri and Sacchi had already performed in 1857 in a Quartet which Ponchielli wrote for flute, oboe and E flat and B flat clarinets. The virtuoso nature of the parts in Il Convegno point to their having been extremely accomplished players. This is one of the great show-pieces for clarinet duo.
© Oliver Davies
Il Convegno has been recorded by Colin Bradbury, Donald Watson and Oliver Davies on The Art of the Clarinettist (CC0008)