"Canzona per Orchestra" was given its first performance at the Bergen Festival. This event was closely connected with the award of the first ever Festival Prize to the thirty year old composer. The term Canzona has its roots in 12th century French music. In 15th century Italy the form was further developed, first and foremost by the famous Gabrieli, who cultivated sound groups within an instrumental ensemble. What Arne Nordheim attempted to do was to elucidate his material by variations and to make certain sectional divisions of musical continuity. The three parts of the work follow the pattern slow, quick, slow, the first two of which have three clear subdivisions, whereas the last part is a return to the mood of the opening bars. The inclusion of 'solo' passages for a cello quartet, a string quartet and other insturments creates flashes of contrast between chamber music and orchestral timbre.