This is an absolutely gorgeous piece, contained within Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana. Intermezzo sinfonico is a mere 3 minutes and 29 seconds, but the dynamics and flowing movement encapsulated within this short time frame make it a stand-alone piece. If you like the third movement of the Moonlight Sonata by that one guy, or Air on a G String, I think you'll adore this piece.
Intermezzo sinfonico is such a moving piece, it was performed unannounced by the Illinois Symphony Orchestra at the beginning of a concert that was held 11 days after September 11, 2001.
"I’m not going to say anything. I’m just going to play a piece in memory of what happened last week. So just a moment of silence while we play. Okay?" -Maestra Karen Deal
So this piece is played after a duet between Santuzza and Alfio. Santuzza realizes that the husband of Lola (Alfio) will kill Turiddu, who has been sleeping with Lola behind Alfio's back. Santuzza is very upset, as she is madly in love with Turiddu. So, Turiddu unsuspectingly travels across the town of Sicilia to the tavern, in order to make toasts to the lovely Lola. What a mess, eh?