Seven Variations  on  a  Noel   
           [A la venue de Noel ]  
1.      Adagio
2.      Adagio, animato
3.      Adagio risoluto
4.      Larghetto, espressivo
5.      Adagio risoluto 
6.      Fugato, cantabile
7.      Adagio cantabile

Organ   (10 pages)


          Seven Variations on a  Noel   [A la venue de Noel ]  is modeled after some of the less familiar repertoire of Franck's two volumes entitled L’Organiste. These variations are conceived as a set of 'miniatures' in the French Romantic tradition of  pieces written for harmonium or for choir organ (l'orgue du choeur). Franck's Prelude, Fugue, et Variation also figures prominently in the design of Sept Variations, as becomes apparent in the fugato and seventh variation.

        The source melody and theme, “A la venue de Noel,” has been restructured into repeated phrases [ab ab cc], an element that holds constant in all but the fourth and sixth variations. Following a gentle and introspective first statement, the second variation makes use of bold and animated imitation between contrapuntal voices.  In the third variation, the carol migrates between the bass (pedal) and soprano lines.  The fourth movement presents the tune in a slow moving canon (at the fifth) between the tenor and bass lines, with an ornamental filigree accompaniment shared in duet between treble voices.  The fifth variation is strongly reminiscent of the third but without pedal, with the repeat of the final phrase of the carol migrating to the alto voice.

The Fugato alternates rhythmically displaced statements of its subject with ones that retain their original form. A motivically arpeggiated counter-subject accompanies the fugue subject as it moves from one voice to another, building toward a final appearance in the pedal. The seventh movement displays elaborative elements reminiscent of Franck's Variation (cited above), with a flowing current of sixteenth notes accompanying the carol.  Following an intensified development leading to a dramatic pause, an extended coda reprises the opening variation's introspective mood, waxes grandly and eloquently, then settles into a  gently pastoral conclusion.

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