Emmanuel Fugue from Symphony No. 3
for orchestra (1998)
rent the music
28 April 1998
Shattuck Auditorium, Waukesha, Wisconsin
Waukesha Symphony Orchestra / Alexander Platt
The fugue is a type of contrapuntal composition for a particular number of parts or 'voices' in which each voice enters successively in imitation of the last. When all the voices have entered, the exposition is over. This particular fugue uses as its subject a tune that has come down to us based on several 12th century plain chants, recognized today variously as the songs Veni Emmanuel, Adeste Fidelis and O Come Emmanuel, among others, and was conceived as the slow movement for my third symphony.
My third symphony is overtly liturgical. This movement serves as a 'prayer' between an opening 'profanation' and a closing 'paean.' I chose the melody because it is my favourite hymn and, as such, has for me numerous important personal associations. I treated the tune fugally because the process involved in creating a fugue is to me the purest and most beautiful expression of a composer's art. When a composer offers a fugue, it is a testament of faith in tonal counterpoint's continuing (and timeless) vitality and viability as a vessel for the expression of emotion through exquisite craftsmanship.
Commissioned by the Waukesha Symphony Orchestra in celebration of its 50th Anniversary Season through special funding from The Milwaukee Foundation — Anthony & Andrea Bryant Family Fund, the piece is dedicated "to the memory of my brother, Britt" and premiered by the Waukesha Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Music Director Alexander Platt on 28 April 1998 at Shattuck Auditorium, Carroll College, Waukesha, Wisconsin.
— Daron Hagen, 1998
"... an elegant, contemplative fugue based on the Christmas carol O Come, O Come Emmanuel. Hagen displays his mastery of both orchestration and contrapuntal writing here. But, more importantly, he writes a deeply moving piece of music."
— Elaine Schmidt, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinal, 4/29/98