program notes by composition > C > Canzona


Peter Mennin

Canzona is a short brisk work which opens with a declamatory idea expressed in massed sonorities. Next a broad melodic line is introduced andĀ supported by powerful rhythmic figurations. This is followed by a cantabile section. These materials are developed and expanded, and the piece closes with the opening statements brought back in a more dramatic presentation.

Peter Mennin (1923-1983) was one of the great symphonic composers of the United States. He focused primarily on large, abstract works for orchestra and chorus. His works bear an influence of Renaissance polyphony and exhibit a contrapuntal energy unique to the composer's style.

Born in Erie, Pennsylvania, Mennin started composing when he was seven years old; at eleven he had already become interested in symphonic forms. He received his musical training at Oberlin Conservatory and the Eastman School of Music, where he studied with Howard Hanson and Bernard Rogers. He served in the US Army Air Force during World War II and went on to teach at the Juilliard School of Music in New York City. He directed the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, Maryland from 1958 to 1962, then returned to the Juilliard School to serve as its president until his death.

Last updated on July 17, 2013 by Palatine Concert Band