Luther: In Canon

From Wind Repertory Project
James Stephenson

James Stephenson

General Info

Year: 2017
Duration: c. 6:00
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Stephenson Music
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $200.00; (digital) - $200.00   |   Score Only (print) - $40.00; (digital) - $40.00


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II-II
Oboe I-II
English Horn
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet (optional but preferred)
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Saxophone
E-flat Alto Saxophone
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II
Bass Trombone
String Bass
Percussion (6 players), including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Chimes
  • Crash Cymbals (2)
  • Marimba
  • Orchestra Chimes
  • Snare Drum
  • Splash Cymbal
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tambourine
  • Tam-Tam
  • Tom-Tom (2)
  • Triangle
  • Vibraphone
  • Wood Block
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

When approached by Bill Perrine (lead consortium member) to compose a second work in honor of the Lutheran 500th anniversary (the other being [[this is most certainly true'', commissioned by another consortium led by Jim Ripley), I agreed immediately. I knew that I had more to say about the subject, and given that the aforementioned was an introspective, somewhat tortured work, I felt I could add some uplifting nature to the celebration as well.

I will confess that he inspiration for Luther: in Canon comes directly from the finale of Holst’s Second Suite in F (IV. Fantasia on the Dargason). Like so many others, I have always loved his compositional process of opening with the canonic figure, only to reveal the true hymn later in the work. And so – in Luther: in Canon, I do the same. The process of coming up with unique sounds, colors, harmonies and rhythms to accompany the canon is both daunting and exciting, especially since there are already so many settings of Luther’s most famous hymn, A Mighty Fortress (Ein feste Burg). It is the surprise textures that give me the most pleasure, as composer, and therefore, hopefully the players and audience as well.

I tried to give most everyone a shot at the canonic material. I also scored the wood block quite liberally, hoping to use it as a tool to symbolize the hammering of the 95 theses, but also, in conjunction with other percussion, to give the work a bit of a busy nature, so as to suggest that though the Lutheran practice has been around now for 500 years, there is, and always will be, work to be done.

Lastly – the title. I had decided to write the work in canon long before deciding a title. The title actually came last.

- Program Note by composer

Luther: In Canon was commissioned by a consortium of wind bands at the collegiate, high school and professional levels to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.

- Program Note from score


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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