Richard Rodney Bennett
Publisher: Novello & Co
A Book of Hours (1991)
dedicated to Susan Bradshaw
Novello & Co Ltd
Large Ensemble (7 or more players)
This work was commissioned by the Nash Ensemble with financial assistance from IBM and is dedicated to Susan Bradshaw on her birthday. It is scored for wind quintet, harp and string quintet, and lasts about sixteen minutes.
In the later Middle Ages the Book of Hours was an illuminated book of devotions which referred to the parts of the Divine Office which are named after the hours of the day. However this piece merely uses the title in tracing the passing of twenty four hours, divided into five movements, which are played without a break:
1. Intrada - Dawn
3. Intermezzo - Afternoon
4. Capriccio - Evening
The central section of the third movement (the centre-point of the work) is a cadenza for horn and harp; the climax of the piece occurs at the transition into the last movement, after which the music slowly returns to the serenity of the opening.