Hymn and Fuguing Tune No. 4 was written on 25 December 1944 as a Christmas present for his wife Sidney Robertson Cowell, a brilliant ethnomusicologist who had been instrumental in obtaining the composer's parole and eventual pardon. Cowell did not specify the instrumentation of the Hymn and Fuguing Tune No. 4, stating that it could be performed by any three woodwind or string instruments, or a combination thereof .. The only noticeable adaptation in this setting for two bassoons and contrabassoon is transposing the piece down one octave. While some may question the choice of instrumentation, I will point out that Cowell's final Hymn and Fuguing Tune is a duet scored for soprano saxophone and contrabass saxophone, written for his friend Sigurd Rascher and his daughter Karen Rascher. I feel confident that Cowell would enjoy this setting of his piece! ~Bruce Gbur
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