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Canzona (Mennin)

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Peter Mennin

Peter Mennin

General Info

Year: 1951
Duration: c. 5:00
Movements: One
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Carl Fischer, Inc.
Cost: Score and Parts - $90.00   |   Score Only - $20.00


Full Score
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
Eb Soprano Clarinet
Bb Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
Eb Alto Clarinet
Bb Bass Clarinet
Alto Saxophone I-II
Tenor Saxophone
Baritone Saxophone
Cornet (in Bb) I-II-III
Trumpet (in Bb) I-II
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
String Bass
Percussion I-II, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Cymbal (crash and suspended)
  • Snare Drum


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Canzona is a short, brisk work, which opens with a declamatory idea expressed in massed sonorities. Next, a broad melodic line is introduced and 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.

Canzona was commissioned by Edwin Franko Goldman through The League of Composers, and was premiered by the Eastman Wind Ensemble, Frederick Fennel conducting, in New York on 15 June 1951.

-Program Note by Peter Mennin

Peter Mennin had a free-spirited approach that fell into no particular school of compositional style. In fact, he disliked the idea of compositional schools and held strong opinions about the compositional process. It was unthinkable for him to write in a style interchangeable with that of another composer. Mennin firmly believed that a composition should state something personal and that it must come from within. He said, “A composer can’t rely on outside stimuli. I would continue to be a composer whether I were here or in Timbuktu.” Mennin's craft was directed toward achieving a dramatic whole. He was adept at his use of motives and their exposition, and did not try to fit his ideas into anything resembling sonata form. His melodies are exceedingly long with no particular antecedent-consequent phrase structure and no strong dependence on the bar line. His sense of harmony restores select triads to important levels of power and gives them contemporary significance by such means as added notes, bitonality, and a kind of inflection unknown in the 19th century. Canzona is the only piece that Mennin wrote for band.

-Program note by New Trier High School Symphonic Wind Ensemble.

Commercial Discography

State Ratings

  • Arkansas: V
  • Florida: V --- (The Florida Bandmasters Association denotes this as "significant literature.")
  • New York: VI
  • Texas: V
  • Virginia: VI

Recent Performances

To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Mansfield University Wind Ensemble (Graham Kerick, conductor) - 6 April 2014
  • Omaha Symphonic Winds (William Hall, conductor) - 5 May 2013
  • New Trier High School Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Matt Temple, conductor) - 20 December 2012 (2012 Midwest Clinic)
  • Indianapolis Symphonic Band (David Shurger, guest conductor) - 1 May 2012
  • Dallas Civic Wind Ensemble (Doug Stotter, conductor) - 27 May 2011
  • West Liberty University Wind Ensemble (Matthew Inkster, conductor) - 29 April 2008
  • Land of the Sky Symphonic Band (Steven K. Walton, conductor) - 5 April 2008 @ the MacDowell Arts Council Association in Marion, North Carolina
  • High School Symphonic Band [Interlochen, Mich.] (Frederick Fennell, conductor) - 15 August 1998

Works for Winds by this Composer

  • Canzona

(This is the only work for winds by this composer)

Additional Resources