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Richard Rodney Bennett

Publisher: Novello & Co

Partita (1995)
commissioned by British Telecommunications plc with the Associations of British Orchestras for the 1995/96 BT Celebration Series
Publisher
Novello & Co Ltd
Category
Orchestra
Sub Category
Chamber Orchestra
Year Composed
1995
Duration
17 Minutes


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Programme Note
My ‘Partita’ for orchestra was commissioned by BT plc in co-operation with the Association of British Orchestras, to be performed by seventeen different orchestras between October 1995 and July 1996. I responded to this exciting but rather daunting commission by writing a lively and I hope very accessible piece, which, I decided before I started composing, should be full of tunes. I write it in memory of a dear friend of mine, Sheila MacCrindle, who died in 1993. Sheila was a distinguished figure in music publishing, with whom I worked for years, and who later was much involved with the music of Maxwell Davies and Lutoslawski. She was a hilariously funny and eccentric person: although this Partita is in her memory, it never occurred to me to make it gloomy or dirge-like; that is not how I remember her.

When I am writing programme notes for my concert music, I like to write briefly about the circumstances of the composition, but then to let the music speak for itself. All I need to say about the Partita is that it is basically in D major, it features the front desk players, is written for medium size orchestra with no heavy brass or percussion, apart from timpani, and lasts about 17 minutes. There are three movements: Intrada, Lullaby and Finale.



  • Ensemble
    Philharmonia Orchestra
    Soloist(s)
    Jonathan Lemalu (baritone), Paul watkins (cello)
    Conductor
    Richard Hickox
    Chandos:
Performances
Date
Title
Reviews
The finale of Richard Rodney Bennett’s Partita, exuberant and lyrical it is, bursting with craftsmanship...
Colin Anderson, www.classicalsource.com,11/20/2011
Partita is for much of its three-movement course indistinguishable from Bennett’s basic film-score idiom, though there are passages – the opening movement’s second section, for instance –in which reassuringly familiar melodic material is accompanied by and unusually high level of chromatic and textural density. Two Country dances proved to be natural successors to Peter Walock’s Capriol Suite, while Concerto for Stan Getz integrates its jazz elements with a deft touch into more classical writing for the strings and the timpani that accompany the solo tenor saxophone. Andy Scott was the soloist here, demonstrating apparently effortless control of all the dimensions of his part.
Keith Potter, The Independent,3/9/2006
Bennett responded [to the commission] by deciding that the work should be “full of tunes”. As indeed it is, in a manner reminiscent of William Walton in ebullient spirits and harmonic directness. Two brief and lively outer movements enclose an easeful lullaby of nocturnal mood, bringing to prominence the first violin and first horn in solo passages of lyrical elegance, the rhythmically breezy vitality elsewhere made instantly communicative under Christoph von Dohnányi’s conducting.
Noel Goodwin, The Times,10/1/1995
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