'Canzona' was commissioned by the Australian Chamber Orchestra with financial assistance from the Music Board of the Australia Council. The term "Canzona" is used here in its broadest possible sense as a "song for instruments". As the simplest of starting-points then, the chamber orchestra is viewed as a collection of "singing" instruments presented either in melody or in complex counterpoint.
Although cast in a single movement the work falls into two principal sections. The first evolves from a simple melodic mowement into a slow waltz-like figure. The second is based on a straightforward chord progression that undergoes a series of convolutions leading to the "presto" finale.
In 1986, choreographer Jacqui Carroll wanted to use Canzona in a new dance work for the Australian Ballet Company. We both felt that it was too short for a one act ballet, and I wrote Prologue as a 'curtain-raiser'. The published work now includes both Prologue and Canzona, though the inclusion of Prologue is at the discretion of the performers.