Donald O. Johnston - Toccata for Orchestra
The title TOCCATA is associated with keyboard literature. Literally a "touch piece". The TOCCATA FOR ORCHESTRA with its use of percussion and its "explosive" brass is a "touch piece," for orchestra.
This composition is a mixture of development and variation musical construction forms. Although the opening theme is drawn from a row of tones, the melody is not clearly established until a number of measures into the composition when it is stated by the trombones (m53) and when the woodwinds present it (m.123) against the clashing blocks of sound in the brass instruments. In a sense the opening is a variation in search of a theme.
Following the opening chorale melody, the composition becomes extremely intense. The repeated drum figure is relentless and never allows relaxation from the growing feeling of tension.