2 Flutes (2nd doubles on Piccolo)

2 Oboes (2nd doubles on English horn)

2 Clarinets

2 Bassoons

4 Horns in F

2 Trumpets in C

2 Trombones

Bass Trombone


2 Percussion

(includes vibraphone, glockenspiel, tubular bells, xylophone,

suspended cymbals, crash cymbals, tambourine, snare drum,

tom toms, bass drum) 



Duration: ca. 25 minutes

Programme Notes


Sinfonietta for orchestra

I.        Allegro con brio

II.      Aria - Theme and Variations    

III.     Scherzando

Commissioned for the Victoria Symphony by Hugh Davidson

Programme note

Triptych is a term used to describe a work of visual art divided into three panels or sections.   Traditionally, the middle panel is the largest, flanked by two smaller works.  With a longer middle movement and a shorter opening and closing movement, Triptych is a suitable description for this sinfonietta.

I was thrilled to have received this commission, not only because it was  for the Victoria Symphony, but also because this was my first private commission.  Hugh Davidson, no stranger to the Victoria Symphony, first approached me to consider writing a work for Victoria in 2003 after he attended a performance of my opera, Filumena.  We had several amiable conversations about music and music-making, and when I asked Hugh what he’d like from this commission, his only request was that it be jovial and no longer than twenty minutes.  But both Hugh and Tania assured me that I could write whatever I pleased.  Keeping this in mind, I started serious work on my jovial piece right around the time the world’s economy took an apocalyptic plunge this past fall.

Having spent most of this past decade writing opera, I found myself wanting to avoid a specific story or “program” for this symphonic work.  Instead, I sketched out several musical ideas that eventually became the characters of the piece.

The first movement, Allegro con brio, begins with punchy sforzando chords that give way to an ardent melody played by the trumpet.  A second tune, much more playful and syncopated in nature, is introduced by the celli and bassoon.  The chords from the introduction usher in the various sections.

The second movement strays a little from the jovial temperament of the piece.  A simple aria is introduced by the clarinet and French horn above an accompaniment of pizzicato strings, vibraphone and piano.  This melody undergoes four different variations in mood and colour, growing to a final quasi operatic treatment.

Although somewhat austere at first, the final movement is entirely playful in nature.  The aria melody frees itself from the darker moods of the second movement to the sunnier disposition of the third.  A noble melody serves as an anchor for the nimble and fleet-footed final movement; a majestic treatment of this melody brings the piece to an optimistic conclusion.

I humbly dedicate this piece to my dear friend Hugh Davidson


Audio Samples



Premiered by the Victoria Symphony, Tania Miller conductor,

in Duncan, British Columbia, March 28, 2009

and in Victoria, British Columbia, March 30, 2009


Subsequent Performances

Victoria Symphony, Tania Miller

Duncan, British Columbia, March 28, 2009

Victoria Symphony, Tania Miller

Victoria, British Columbia, March 30, 2009

The third movement of Triptych also appears in the ballet "Wonderland".


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Score/Parts Rental

For more information on score and parts rental for Triptych, contact John Estacio