• Richard Rodney Bennett
  • Memento (1983)

  • Novello & Co Ltd (World)

Commissioned by Susan Milan with funds from the Arts Council

  • str(min 3.3.3.2.1)
  • flute
  • 18 min

Programme Note

Memento for Flute and Strings was commissioned by Susan Milan with funds provided by the Arts Council of Great Britain. It is dedicated to Miss Milan and was written in memory of the Jazz pianist, Pat Smythe, who died on May 7th 1983. Pat Smythe was a pianist of great lyricism and eloquence and had an extremely sophisticated harmonic sense. I hope these qualities find an echo in this work.

Memento was composed in New York City and completed on May 28th 1983. It lasts about 17.5 minutes and consists of three movements played without a break: Canto, Intermezzo and Elegiac Blues (a title borrowed from Constant Lambert). Although this is in no sense a jazz work I was conscious of certain features of modern jazz - the rhapsodic freedom of the soloist, the use of pizzicato double-bass solos (heard in the Intermezzo) and the plangent quality of many blues melodies.

Towards the end of the third movement melodic material from the opening of the first movement returns and the work ends quietly in C minor.

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