Christopher Fox (b. 1955) — The Missouri Harmony (1984–85) for organ
“The Missouri Harmony” (1984–85) takes its title from the American shape-note tune book of 1820, which was the most popular frontier tune book of its era. In some early American singing traditions, each member of the congregation would pursue his own musical path, each singer with his own version of the tune, so that the overall result was an inspired heterophony around the original melody. The composer writes: “In my piece three voices (right hand, left hand, and pedals) move independently but similarly: in each voice phrases lengthen and then contract, lengthen and finally contract again; and in all the voices there is a gradual movement upward. Progress is slow throughout: not so slow that awareness of the overall melodic contour is lost, but slow enough for it to be possible to enjoy the acoustic presence of single harmonies. 'The Missouri Harmony' is dedicated to Huub ten Hacken; he gave the first performance in Sint Janskathedral on 28th August 1985.”
English composer Christopher Fox (b. 1955) was educated at the universities of Liverpool, Southampton, and York. His teachers included Hugh Wood and Jonathan Harvey. From 1984–94 he was a member of the composition teaching staff at the Darmstadt New Music Summer School and in 2006 took a professorship at Brunel University. Fox’s music is noted for its wide stylistic breadth, ranging from microtonal chamber works to large-scale modernist ensemble pieces and from tape cut-up collages to minimalist pieces for guitars and saxophones. He has also been an active writer on music, and served as editor of the journal “Contact” as well as of several multi-author books.