Peter Mennin, a native Pennsylvanian of Italian extraction, received his musical training from the Oberlin Conservatory, and the Eastman School of Music from 1940 to 1945. He was appointed the president of the Juilliard School of Music in 1962. Cast in neo-Classical mold, the music of Mennin is at its best in purely instrumental works, and is compact in form with themes and thematic development. Canzona, a short brisk work, opens with a declamatory idea expressed in massed sonorities. This exposition is followed by a broad melodic line introduced and supported by powerful rhythmic figurations. These ideas, and the third cantabile section, are expanded, with the composition ending with the opening material.
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