John La Montaine's Twelve Relationships for Piano Solo consists of twelve short canons: Bold and Plain, Teasing, Plaintive, Bittersweet, Wayward, Saucy, Entreating, Piquant, Brooding, Spirited and Jubilant. It was originally composed in 1965.
A canon is the strictest form of composition, in which two or more parts take up in succession exactly the same musical subject. Each of the canons in “Twelve Relationships” is at a different interval. That is, the second entrance of the subject begins on a different note in each canon, and that note is always different from the first entrance. Twelve different intervals are utilized in the twelve canons. Each of these canons is “strict” in its succession of intervals from the first note to the last. The first canon is at the octave and therefore in one and the same key. All of the others at different intervals, since they are strict, are simultaneously in two different keys. There is no other known set of canons so composed.
The title “Twelve Relationships” may be understood in two senses. One refers to the form, the intervallic relationships mentioned above. The other refers to the content, that is, to the psychological relationships that are implied by the titles of the individul canons and which form the musical substance of the pieces.
Jocelyn Mackey (Pan Pipes, music critic): "Twelve Relationships contains twelve two-part canons with titles like, Plaintive, Sprightly, Saucy, Brooding. The first, Bold and Plain, is composed with imitation at the fifth, while a different interval is used in each of the other eleven. Just as the Well-Tempered Clavier contains preludes in each possible key, each possible interval of imitation is used in this set of canons. Amazing contrapuntal skill."