Instrumentation: Concert Band
Difficulty: Level 4, Medium
Composed for a memorial funeral service for the victims of the Nancy Affair, held on the Champ de Mars, 20 September 1790.
This is an extraordinary composition in every way, not the least of which is a level of inspiration and emotion rarely found in Gossec. Contrary to all tradition of the march form, this march is fragmented, interspersed with haunting silences which are usually filled by the ominous sound of the gong—an instrument never before heard in France before this composition. Strange and dramatic harmonic moments add both great mystery and power to the work. It is one of Gossec’s best efforts and was often performed.
The impact of this march can be found in the fact that these features, the gong and the silences, can be found in many later band compositions, for example in the Funeral March which opens the Bochsa Requiem and the Halevy Marche Heroique.