Brio: Toccata and Fantasy for Orchestra


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
1 Percussion
(includes suspended cymbals, triangles crash cymbals, snare drum,) 

Duration: 13'

Programme Notes

After nearly a decade of composing opera, Brio: Toccata and Fantasy for Orchestra is John Estacio’s first orchestral work after completing his most recent opera Lillian Alling. Set in three sections, Brio is a vigorous and mercurial piece that charts the course of a short melodic motive from its strident introduction by muted trumpets, through to a resounding conclusion. The first section of the piece, the toccata, features several short solos for the woodwinds and the brass. A fugal passage for the strings builds to a martial statement for the full orchestra, with strings and snare drum hammering an insistent rhythm. The first section culminates with an intense chromatic passage that ascends from the depths of the string section, rising up to a promising triumphant brass fanfare that only disappears as quickly as it arrives, back into the depths of the strings. The vivacity abates for the second section, the fantasy. The strident theme from the opening gradually transforms into a more lyrical guise. The middle section was composed the day Estacio learned composer Malcolm Forsyth had passed away.  Malcolm was a good friend to John and a constant supporter of his work. The elegiac nature of the second part of the piece conveys the sense of loss and serves as a stirring tribute to a departed friend. The finale begins with a recap of material from the first section.  The fiery chromatic passage for the strings returns, leading up to a brass fanfare. This time, instead of dissipating, the brass continues with their fanfare, an affirming statement of the work’s primary theme.  Brio is dedicated to the memory of Malcolm Forsyth.


Audio Samples



Commissioned by the National Arts Centre Orchestra

Premiered by the National Arts Centre Orchestra, conducted by Julian Kuerti, November 9,10, 2011, Southam Hall, National Arts Centre


Subsequent Performances

November 9,10, 2011

National Arts Centre Orchestra, Julian Kuerti

(World Premiere)

November 15, 2011


St. John's, Newfoundland

November 17, 2011


Charlottetown, PEI

November 22, 2011


Fredericton, New Brunswick

November 23, 2011


Saint John , New Brunswick




Score/Parts Rental

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