Six songs without Words – Set Eleven
Set Eleven, written in May 2019, gave Richard a chance to write something completely different: a Saltarello …
Song no.2 in E minor – Andante con moto (listen using the SoundCloud link below)
Song no.3 in – E♭ major – Allegretto (listen using the link below)
Song no. 6 in G major – Saltarello. Allegro con spirito (listen to this piece using the Soundcloud link below)
The set opens with a substantial waltz, playful in character and with a middle section of cross-rhythms. Piece Two, a lyrical flowing piece, has a sense of sonata form with a rippling figuration for the first subject and something more chordal and even bell-like for the second subject. Piece Three has the unusual metre of 7/4, both for its calm expressive outer sections and its more syncopated and playful secondary idea. The fourth piece has a sense of moto perpetuo, though not without some lyrical ideas.
After the poignant and tender fifth piece, the set ends with a lively Saltarello – a piece inspired by a boisterous dance from Italy. The Saltarello, from the Italian “saltare”, to jump, is characterised by a hopping step captured here through the combination of staccato and syncopation heard in the first bar and in many places thereafter. Much of the piece is in high spirits with cross-rhythms and some frenzied whirring semiquavers, though mid-way there is a pair of tentative phrases in which the highest and lowest registers seem to flirt in dialogue each other. The resounding final section, using both these registers simultaneously, suggests that this meeting of treble and bass in this dance had a resoundingly happy conclusion.