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Here are six variations of the Huron Carol that I wrote last year.

They include:

1. thin texture, introducing the theme

2. canon, plus two other voices

3. arpeggiated

4. diminuation, augmentation

5. seconds, close position harmony

6. fughetta

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Very nice indeed.

I only had subjective reservations about the Fughetta which lacked a little directional thrust for me and was not as fluent as the other variations, irrespective of the different sections ( I with others am an honorary keyholder to the Pandoras Box Dave refers to :-).

 The arpeggiated variation would have benefitted from a slightly faster tempo in my view as the whole work comes across as slowish, but again, that is just a subjective thing and not really criticism of any sort. Lovely carol too.

Outside my window is the "Supermoon" - the biggest full moon of the year.  And inside, I'm listening to a carol that begins "Twas in the moon of wintertime".  I have always loved that carol.  As a child I sang it imagining a scene just like the one outside now - full moon, a bit of frost, winter on its way ....

You have totally done justice to the simple beauty of this Canadian Christmas Carol, and you've brought the season in for me, in a quiet and elegant way.  All of your variations serve to enhance the original tune which is haunting and lovely.  I especially liked the first one and the one with the close voicing. 

Musically I would have liked one of the middle variations to move to a different key, then return to the original in the final variation.  I was also surprised by the Piccardy third at the end of some of the variations, which seems a little out of context with an ancient hymn that was originally harmonized in mostly open fifths.  I can't imagine the Indians suddenly harmonizing with a major third!  ;-)

Overall, though, I really loved these variations and was overjoyed to hear them on this moonlit December night.  Thanks for the early Christmas gift!

Lovely, liked them all. Excellent selection of styles.

I really appreciate the comments and agree with just about all of it. I've only attempted a couple of fugues (well, fughettas) and think technically I know how, but making it go somewhere instead of feeling academic needs more work! It's fugue development that I've not really explored. I've read and seen a lot on youtube about writing fugues, but not much about development. Perhaps that's something hard to explain.

The arpeggiated variation should be played faster. But not TOO fast for the Huron Carol. That's another artistic call. But the slow recording is the player's fault, not the composer, despite being the same person!

I like the idea of modulating somewhere to a different key. The Piccardy thirds does seem a bit out of character for this old tune. I was concerned the listener would feel it was too "minor", but there's other ways to deal with mood. The first variation came naturally -- the open fifths seem really in character for a Renaissance-era tune.

Something to work on for next Christmas season! I wonder how well some of this would work on the pipe organ? Opens up some other possibilities.

Thanks again.

......."I've read and seen a lot on youtube about writing fugues, but not much about development. Perhaps that's something hard to explain".

There is nothing easy about fugal writing as it encompasses all the basic elements of music to a high degree of standard. One of the best texts I have ever read on this discipline is here for free......

This covers all aspects of writing fugues, including episodes (development).

Thanks for the book suggestion. I read nearly all of it over the last few days. It's hard to absorb all of it without studying it carefully, so will refer back to it for sure.

Mike Hewer said:

One of the best texts I have ever read on this discipline is here for free......

Very enjoyable variations.


1. Beautiful video production.

2. Very sensitive playing.

3. Harmonies in keeping with the carol.

4. Nice counterpoints in some sections.

Overall a very nice set of variations delicately set.

Best wishes and keep up the great work.

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