Toccata on "How Firm a Foundation"

--Craig Phillips

Composer Craig Phillips
Price $12.50 (U.S.) Released 6/11
Use Prelude, recital piece
Difficulty Moderately difficult
Catalog no. 160-655 recording

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Description
A spirited, full-fledged toccata on the early American tune FOUNDATION, the tune usually paired with the text "How Firm a Foundation."

Review
"A rousing setting of one of everybody's favorite American hymn tunes, this arrangement pays homage to the French toccata style by assigning the melody to the feet much of the time, although frequent meter changes provide added excitement not associated with famous toccatas. Moderate difficulty." --Worship Arts, March-April, 2012

"Compound meter, syncopation, and slow-moving harmonies underpinned by pedal points in various registers characterize this energetic toccata on the American tune Foundation from The Sacred Harp. The pedal points work very well with this pentatonic tune and Phillips was wise to use rhythm to create most of the interest in this piece rather than quick changes of harmony. There is a hint of the minimalist sound world of John Adams here, with the significant difference that this toccata is interested in stating and developing a melodic theme. The melody is heard primarily in 5/8 meter, while the surrounding musical material is in a more straightforward 6/8 or 9/8. The two main statements of the theme are in the pedal, but the tune migrates into various other voices in the middle section, leading to a quasi-recitative passage on the chamade that heralds the recapitulation. This would make a great festive voluntary and would also help introduce a congregation to this sturdy tune if they do not already sing it." --The Journal of the Anglican Association of Musicians, September 2012



 

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