Monday, January 19, 2009

Free at Last

Martin Luther King Day

A few years ago, while working as music director at a Unitarian-Universalist church, I composed an organ work entitled Canonic Variations and Fugue on Free at Last. It had always struck me that almost everyone knew Dr. King's quote but almost no one (at least among the New England communities that I'm familiar with) knew the tune of the hymn that he quoted from. I taught the choir Free at Last and I composed the organ work to serve as a postlude for that Sunday's service.

Near the end of the fugue is a stretto. This is a section in which the subject is played in canon with itself. The two lower voices contain the stretto and the upper voice has the countersubject. I'm just including an excerpt here. If you are interested in the whole work, it is published by Singing String Music Publications:

(click on image to enlarge)

But, since the idea of this blog is to write a new canon every day, here is a perpetual canon in inversion. It is also based on the tune Free at Last -- but it is not a part of that earlier composition. Just like the Goldberg Ground within which Bach found so many possibilities, Free at Last is a rich resource for canon.
(click on image to enlarge)

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