Commissioned by the NFMS for their 50th anniversary with funds from the Arts Council
Sinfonietta, a commission by the National Federation of Music societies for their 50th anniversary, was written in the spring of 1984 and received its first performance by the Huntington Philharmonic Orchestra on 16 February, 1985. It is trumpets, timpani and Strings, with the addition of percussion and piano. Although the terms of the commission demanded that the work should meet the technical resources of amateur players, Richard Rodney Bennett has skilfully turned these limitations to good musical effect. The idiom is witty and attractive, which coupled with the deft scoring and taut construction makes for easy listening. Sinfonietta is conceived in three interlinked movements with the threads of thematic material running though each section. Most of the themes are hear in lively first movement - vivo - and become expanded in the remaining movements. The central movement - lento - is lovely lyrical piece with extended solos for the woodwind, and containing a more energetic middle section that is to become the material for the boisterous scherzo- like finale-con brio.