Variations on an Advent Hymn for brass choir and percussion by Fisher Tull

"It stands as a sequel to the Liturgical Symphony in that the thematic material was drawn from early church music. The plainsong melody, Veni Emmanuel in the Dorian mode, serves as the theme upon which the four variations are based. After this melody is presented by the horns, Variation I reveals a cantus firmus treatment of thematic fragments punctuated by rhythmic episodes. This leads directly into a slow section featuring a trumpet solo in a melody derived from the inversion of the pitches of the theme set in a bi-tonal harmonic framework. Variation III features a virtuostic tuba solo in further development of the theme, in intricate rhythms and shifting meters. A passacaglia introduces the final variation in which the texture undergoes gradual complexity in preparation for the climactic statement of the theme by the horns."
- Crystal Records © 2003 (from liner notes from the CD 121 "Philharmonic Brass"),
Used by permission, Unauthorized replication is not legal.

Sound Sample
Philharmonic Brass / Crystal Records CD121

"Fisher Tull exhibits magnificent creative marksmanship when he utilizes early church material. Here the eloquence is all-pervading. The theme [of Variations on an Advent Hymn] is the plainsong Veni Emmanuel, the four variations displaying a mastery of vertical and horizontal devices."
- A. Cohn, Recorded Classical Music

Composed in 1962. Premiered by the Sam Houston State University Brass Choir in 1962 with the composer conducting.
Instrumentation: 6 tpt. 4 hn. 4 tbn. 2 bar. 2 tb. timp. perc.
Movements: Theme and Variation I, Variation II, Variation III, Variation IV
Length: 8 mins.
Publisher: Western International Music

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last revised January 18, 2009