Ritual Fragment

The melody in Ritual Fragment is a single line which is passed fluidly from instrument to instrument throughout the piece. The staging plan (105K) from the score of 'Ritual Fragment', shows how players move from accompanying to solo positions on the stage and define in a very visual way the difference between melody and accompaniment.
This extract of score shows the passing of the melody from violin to clarinet.

Press the link below to play the extract of Ritual Fragment above - there is a very quiet section in the middle, don't be fooled into thinking that it has finished!

Extract courtesy of NMC Recordings.

Performance Notes

This piece, which is performed without a conductor, consists of a solo part, played by ten of the players in succession, with those not playing the solo acting as an accompaniment. To begin with the players are seated as in the diagram. The piece evolves with each solo instrument moving, in turn, from this initial placement (position I) to the centre to become the soloist until the next instrument comes and takes over. After each solo (which is a continuous line, since the instruments overlap one another), the player moves back to join the accompanying ensemble again, but this time to the place vacated by the current soloist (position II). The accompanimental role though somewhat free in nature, is linked to the solo part by way of reference points or cues. The instruments which are not included in the solo part are the cello, double bass, piano and bass drum. The latter two also supply cues for the other instrumentalists.
Ritual Fragment - Music Details
Written in 1990
Instruments: flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, horn,
bass drum, piano, 2 violins, viola, cello, double bass
CD: NMC CD number NMC D009
Played by:The London Sinfonietta, conductor - Oliver Knussen

Score Extract and Performance Notes kindly provided by Universal Edition, Universal Edition