Intermezzo Sinfonico

From Wind Repertory Project
Pietro Mascagni

Pietro Mascagni (arr. Elliot Del Borgo)

Subtitle: From the Opera Cavalleria Rusticana

General Info

Year: 1889 / 2003
Duration: c. 3:55
Difficulty: III (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Orchestra
Publisher: Carl Fischer
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $95.00; (digital) - $95.00   |   Score Only (print) - $11.00


Full Score
Flute I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II
Trombone I-II
Percussion, including:

  • Bells
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Vibraphone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Between the time Giuseppe Verdi wrote Otello and Falstaff, the Italian opera moved in reaction to the verismo school, based on “naturalism”, featuring stories with commonplace characters, settings and situations with which audiences could easily identify. Mascagni was only 27 years old when his most famous work, the opera Cavalleria Rusticana (Rustic Chivalry), opened with brilliant success, giving birth to verismo. This one work launched Mascagni into the international opera circuit, but despite a long career, he was never able to duplicate its success. His most popular surviving musical fragment is the Intermezzo, having been used in the soundtrack of several films, including Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull, The Godfather, Part III and the HBO series The Sopranos.

The orchestral “Intermezzo” occurs between the two scenes of the opera’s single act, and evokes the Easter day religious spirit of the opera’s setting.

- Program Note from publisher

Pietro Mascagni found fame at the age of 27 when he entered his one-act opera, Cavalleria Rusticana, on the final day of a Milanese music publisher’s competition for new operatic productions. From a total of 73 entries, Mascagni’s was one of three operas selected by the judges. Based on a story by Giovanni Verga, it was premiered in Rome on 19 May 1890, to an audience comprised mostly of music critics. Among their ranks, however, was also the great patron of music Margherita of Savoy, Queen of Italy. The work was an immediate success. Awarded the First Prize by the panel of judges, Mascagni, himself, taking up to 40 curtain calls on the night of the first performance! Since 1893 it has often been paired with Ruggiero Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci, on what is generally referred to as the double-bill of "Cav and Pag."

Cavalleria Rusticana is considered to be one of the first verismo operas. From the Italian vero or “true,” versimo was popular with Italian composers of the late 19th and early 2Oth centuries. Works in this style depicted a more realistic dramatization of everyday life, rather than the caricatures typical of Romantic opera. Intermezzo Sinfonico is played by the orchestra about halfway through the production and is tender and plaintive, with a definite tendency toward the melancholic. Its justifiable acclaim as an instrumental interlude has inspired its adaptation for use in motion pictures.

- Program Note from The Virginia Wind Symphony concert program, 21 December 2017


State Ratings

  • Georgia: III


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • University of Southern Mississippi (Hattiesburg) Symphonic Winds (Gary Adam, conductor) - 3 October 2021
  • Texas Christian University (Fort Worth) Symphonic Band (Brian Youngblood, conductor) – 5 March 2019
  • Houston County High School (Warner Robins, Ga.) Symphonic Winds (Rebekah Daniel, conductor) - 15 May 2018

Works for Winds by This Composer