'Saints Francesco'

'Saints  Francesco'

Band Dell’esercito Italiano - (The Italian Army Band) 

MD: Capitano Mo Antonella Bona 

Label: BAM 15701 - 2015

As the entire insert of this CD is written in Italian my good friend Pietro has gratefully assisted in this translation, and it may be very helpful to have my review to hand when listening to this moving and descriptive music.

This military band was only formed in 1964 and performs at most important functions in relating, musically, the story of the Italian Republic over the past 50 years. How refreshing to see a lady  conductor in Antonella Bona who is a graduate in woodwind instrumentation and choral director at the Conservatoire of Bari and Aquilla.

This entire CD portrays sacred music which, within the six tracks, each composer refers to God’s truth and the reality of Pope Benedict the 16th words that sing out the beauty of music and the “three places” in which it originated: experience of love, sadness and meeting with the Divine.

'Citta Della’ Della Pace' by Salvatore Farina means City of Peace and describes all the peace which supports the love of our Saviour and opens in March Style very similar to the Salvation Army Bands and we hear some high reeds sounds with excellent balance in the trio section..

'Ad Magnificat' by Angelo Sormani  this means ‘ greetings to you all’, Saint of Virtue that we will all answer to God. A very gentle and sensitive opening featuring warm middle band sounds which then lead into a more upbeat section which concludes in a beautiful final chord prior to a vocal recitative and a well measured closure

Sulle Orme Di Francesco' by Salvatore Schembari, transcribed means In the Footsteps of Francesco and depicts ‘Praise to our Saviour’ and forgiveness through his love. A very bold opening statement by the band leads into a medieval theme featuring some very fine Flute and Bassoon duos. There is however,  some audible tuning lapses in this section but this did not detract from the many gorgeous sounds from this talented ensemble, particularly the woodwind sections.

'Il Sentiero Di Francesco' by Sandro Tilia effectively continues the previous story in describing the path of St. Francis. Here again we hear some really impressive and moving music, enhanced by a Harp now joining the ensemble with added percussion effects. This  depicts a feeling of turmoil before recapping on the original joyful opening to conclude a superb track.

'Principia Hominis'  declares the ‘Beginning of Man’ and composer Alessandro Celardi has orchestrated a most beautiful descriptive work. This takes us through a myriad of emotions with a  almost haunting opening into very interesting sounds of added bagpipe type instrument. This with Flute and lower woodwinds develops into some really lovely sounds. With some excellently controlled rhythmic sections, this is really superb playing from the whole ensemble. The added vocalist Soprano soloist in the final sections greatly impacted  on a truly glorious finale.

Many listeners may feel a lack of variety compared to our ‘usual’ band programs, yet it is this strong common spiritual thread which aims to focus the mind on this very sacred ‘aura’ within these tracks. These have been augmented by some very fine music from this obviously very talented band which portrayed very beautiful  colours from the woodwind sections.

Bravo MD and a very focussed, musical and balanced band---I loved this program!


  1. Citta della Pace - Salvatore Farina     [2.26]
  2. Ad Magnificat - Angiolino Sormani          [6.75]
  3. Sulle orme di Francesco - Salvatore Schembari     [6.31]
  4. Il sentiero di Francesco - Sandro Tilia   [7.13]
  5. Principia Hominis - Alessandro Celardi     [7.59]
  6. Francesco d'Assisi - Pietro Damiani       [13.35]

Stuart J. Fawcett

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