• Richard Rodney Bennett
  • Serenade for Small Orchestra (1977)

  • Novello & Co Ltd (World)

Commissioned by the London Celebration Committee for the Queen's Silver Jubilee

  • 2(pic)2212210timp.3percpfstr
  • 14 min

Programme Note

This work was commissioned by the London Celebrations Committee for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, 1977, and received its first performance on 24th April by the Royal College of Music Orchestra conducted by David Willcocks. It was subsequently played by the school and youth orchestras of the London boroughs, which may misleadingly imply that the composer has produced here a technically somewhat simplified piece for young players – far from it infact. This is a challenging work, full or tricky rhythms, syncopated is so pleasurable, and indeed memorable, that it doesn’t seem at all like hard work. The stykle is gently modern in flavour and dance orientated. Of the three rather dreamy movement titles only the central ‘Siesta’ really lives up to its name with a gentle, swaying lullaby whose shapely tune is introduced by the flute. The first movement is a very lively ‘Aubade’ indeed and conains a slightly red-nosed trumpet theme which seems to suggest tht this ‘aubade’ is somewhat linked with the night before. The final Nocturne, marked molto vivace, is a joyous movement containing dashes of West Indian Music, a touch of the blues, and considerable rhythmic excitement throughout. Although this Serenade calls for an orchestra or basically classical size, the colours are considerably enhanced by the use of a piano, trombone and a percussion department which includes bongos, wood block, glockenspiel, xylophone and tambourine to name but a few.


I. Aubade
II. Siesta
III. Nocturne

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