• Robert Saxton
  • Ritornelli and Intermezzi (1972)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)
  • Piano
  • 15 min

Programme Note

This work was written in July and August of 1972, and received its first complete performance the following November at a MacNaghten Concert in London, when it was played by Susan Bradshaw who has since recorded the piece for Hilversum Radio and BBC Radio 3 (It had been performed in part at the Cambridge University Music Club earlier, when it was played by Nigel Wilkinson).
It is divided into seven sections, four of which are Ritornelli, the remaining three being the Intermezzi. They are set out as follows:-
Al Bl A2 C A3 B2 A4
The Ritornelli and developmental movements, A2, A3 & A4 developing material from Al in various ways, so that although the word ‘Ritornelli' retains its original meaning of 'return', the 'returns' are not simply restatements of the first movement. A4, for example, is a rhythmical inversion of Al, with the pitches reworked.
The three Intermezzi movements are non-developmental. B2 is a rhythmical palindrome of Bl, while C is a pitch and rhythm palindrome on its own axis.
In addition to these features, each movement has its own 'pivot' figure. In the Ritornelli these are grace-note figures; in Intermezzi 1 and 3 they are sustained chords, and in the central Intermezzo the' pivot' figure is a rising - or descending - sequence of three chord-clusters.
The seven sections are played without a break, and the whole work lasts about 17 minutes.

Robert Saxton