Despite a prolific output for brass band, the short Canzona
is the only music Robert Simpson composed for orchestral brass apart from an arrangement of his brass band piece The Four Temperaments
. In the Canzona
there is some spiritual kinship with the brass music of Gabrieli, though the alternating calm and mystery suggest a comparison with the slow movement of Simpson’s own Second Symphony. The grandeur and cumulative power of the final bars, as the work swells to a triadic conclusion, clearly demonstrate the ‘breadth of a symphonist’, albeit in miniature.
from notes by Matthew Taylor © 1998