CANON AND CACCIA for four horns
Program notes by the composer
This work was written in a couple of weeks early in 1977, immediately after the successful premiere of The Eve of St. Agnes on the Northern Illinois University campus. Like Agnes, this work explores an antiphonal relationship among its five performers; I intended that the musicians should be separated as far apart as possible at the imitative beginning of the work, gradually drawing nearer and nearer to each other as the music becomes more chordal. This would be, in other words, a visual and aural representation of the work's two interior forms themselves; the Canon, by definition a "round" of imitative and contrapuntal entrances; the Caccia, "chase" in Italian, a quick movement in 6/8 time traditionally associated with the horn and its fox-hunting ancestry.
Canon and Caccia was intended originally for a concert which the women's music fraternity, Mu Phi Epsilon, was planning on the Northern Illinois University campus during American Music Week, but for various logistic reasons the concert was never presented. The work waited ten years for its premiere, by horn professors John and Laura Fairfield and three of their graduate students, on the NIU campus.