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Suite No.1

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John RitchieSuite No.1 (String Orchestra)
String Orchestra

This work is published as a saddle-stitched full score booklet for reference and study.

About the work:

The Suite No.1 was completed in April 1956 and the score is dedicated to the composer’s friend Alex Lindsay.

John Ritchie writes: 'In the 1950s, musical New Zealand grew from choirs, brass bands, the National Orchestra and an interest in the small string orchestra generated by a memorable tour by the Boyd Neel Orchestra in 1947. In Wellington, Alex Lindsay founded his own orchestra, and it was he who more than anyone else encouraged local composers.

'Suite No.1 is an early manifestation of a lifelong preoccupation with the ritornello as a basis for first-movement structure (rather than traditional sonata form). An introduction establishes the basic rhythm and provides snippets of thematic material, but the principal source is the short ritornello from which derivatives spring as the movement progresses. A development occurs, in which a variety of keys are explored and motives varied until the music slows for the middle panel of the Triptych—an enlargement for solo violin and solo viola of the principal theme against the tremolandi of the rest of the orchestra. There is a return to the ritornello, heard this time from the violas and later echoed by violins, and leading to a coda which itself casts new light on the principal melody.

'The Air is a dreamy, slow-moving waltz with a ‘folky’ feel to it, an intense middle section and a reprise which exploits a solo viola in its closing bars.

'The Intrada illuminates the fuller ‘divided’ string orchestra. A prominent divisiviola sound features in the slow march which comprises the middle of theIntrada, preceding an abbreviated return to the opening idea. The Fugue follows straight on, its jaunty theme approaching jazz in spirit, although the texture of authentic and exploitative modern string orchestral resources is ever-present.'

Suite No.1 has enjoyed many notable performances, including a concert in Paris in the presence of Mme Mitterand celebrating the two-hundredth anniversary of the French Revolution. Rooted in the pastoral mode of Elgar and Vaughan Williams, the Suite enacts a process of bringing the meditative world within its boundaries luminously into focus.

Visit the Publisher's website for more information about the work and publication.

Product Details

John Ritchie
Orchestral Study Scores
Publication Date:

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