Réjouissance musicale sur le Siège de Sébastopol
CommentaryWritten after September 1855
This short march and trio was written to celebrate the year-long siege, and successful taking, of the Black Sea port of Sebastopol, during the Crimean War, 15 October, 1854 to September 1855. Nothing is known about the composer. Indeed, the music publishing business in the 19th century was so full of such composers (people bought sheet music as they buy i-tunes and magazines today) that this is not in fact surprising. As a piece of music celebrating a historical event, the Réjouissance stands in the long line of commemoration pieces running from at least the 16th century and most likely earlier, right up to the 19th century and beyond - Bernard Viguerie's Battle of Marengo (downloadable here on the site) is a fine example of a direct precursor. Here however the music is in no way programmatic but simply a ‘song of triumph'.
The first movement opens with two loud chords (to get the audience's attention!). These are followed by a light introductory section which is capped with a slightly quicker march-like energetic finale, marked con forza. The subsequent trio has a lilting, softer atmosphere, though it too finishes in the grand manner with fortissimo chords and scales.