Con brio is a festive work, appropriate as a concert-opener or short character work. Chorale-like textures are interwoven with contrapuntal passagework, sustained by Nelhybel’s characteristic rhythmic vitality and drive. The main body of the work is built upon a repeating, 27-measure theme initially introduced by the cellos and basses. The orchestration builds as new instruments and themes are introduced, leading to the work’s forceful and dramatic conclusion.
Nelhybel composed well for all instruments, writing idiomatic instrumental parts that are well-tailored to the ability level of the intended ensemble. While providing some significant challenges for the woodwind, brass, and percussion sections, the string parts of Con brio are accessible to a wide range of players. Additionally, the flexibility provided in the scoring allows string players of a wide range of abilities to perform the work simultaneously, creating an ideal piece for festival settings.