Gian Battista Mantagazzi February 03 2014, 0 Comments

Gian Battista (Johann Baptiste) Mantagazzi is considered to be one of Switzerland's finest march composers. Due to his ability and his knowledge of the varied music styles of many countries, he was able to compose marches that were both artistic and cosmopolitan. He was born in Riva San Vitale in the Swiss canton of Tessin (Ticino). The home of his parents, Gaetano-Vignajolo and Carolina Bernaschina Mantagazzi, was less than five miles from the Italian border, and the family spoke Italian, as did almost all of the Swiss who lived in Tessin. Gian Battista attended elementary and secondary school in Riva San Vitale and, in 1914, began to play trumpet with the Tessiner Battalion Band. During World War I he led that same band and later directed the 30th Swiss Infantry-Regiment Band. He also studied music at the conservatories in Geneva (1916 – 1918) and in Bologna, Italy (1918 – 1919).

From 1919 to 1924 Mantagazzi directed the municipal band and taught music in the school in the Genova-Nervi area of Italy's Riviera. In 1924 he returned to Switzerland to conduct the municipal band in the German-speaking city of Schaffhausen. A similar position became available in Zurich in 1928 with the band, which had only two previous directors since it was founded in 1880. Although over 100 bandmasters applied for the coveted position, Mantagazzi was selected. During his tenure in Zurich he helped develop the band movement of the Swiss Confederation and received many personal honors before his death in 1958.

Most of Mantagazzi's compositions were written for band, although his Tessiner Suite was also arranged for orchestra, and the Munot-marsch was also arranged for piano and for brass band. In addition he composed a considerable amount of music for festivals and films. Thirty of his marches were recorded for the Heritage of the March series.

The United States Navy Band has recorded the following Mantagazzi marches on Heritage of the March, Volume 5:

The recording is superb and is part of the Altissimo! Release of the Robert Hoe Collection.

- Jack Kopstein