Gwyneth Walker

Songs for Women's Voices

for SSAA Chorus and Piano (1993)
for SSAA Chorus and Chamber Orchestra (2004)
(suggested string size: 6.6.4.3.2)

Return to Gwyneth Walker Music Catalog
Read a letter to Gwyneth Walker by Angela Crosby, regarding the interpretation of I Will Be Earth
Read a letter to Gwyneth Walker by Alan Gumm, regarding the interpretation of In Autumn
Read a letter to Gwyneth Walker by Ginny Kerwin, regarding the choice of May Swenson's poetry
Read a letter to Gwyneth Walker by Jan Pedersen Schiff, regarding the interpretation of Women Should Be Pedestals
Read observations on I Will Be Earth (1993) for SSA chorus, SATB chorus, or solo voice and piano
Read a review of Songs for Women's Voices (2004) for SSAA chorus and chamber orchestra by Ken Hoover, Classical Voices of North Carolina.
Read conductor's notes on this work by Marjorie Drysdale and Nancy Menk

Listen to a RealAudio (G2) stream of the first movement ("Women Should Be Pedestals") of this work performed by the University of Delaware Singers, Ruth Oatman, conductor.
Listen to a RealAudio (G2) stream of the second movement ("Mornings Innocent") of this work performed by Vox Femina Los Angeles, Iris S. Levine, conductor.
Listen to a RealAudio (G2) stream of the third movement ("The Name is Changeless") of this work performed by the University of Delaware Singers, Ruth Oatman, conductor.
Listen to a RealAudio (G2) stream of the fourth movement ("Love is a Rain of Diamonds") of this work performed by the Sounding Joy! Singers, Marjorie Drysdale, conductor.
Listen to a RealAudio (G2) stream of the fifth movement ("In Autumn") of this work performed by Vox Femina Los Angeles, Iris S. Levine, conductor.
Listen to a RealAudio (G2) stream of the sixth movement ("I Will Be Earth") of this work performed by the University of Delaware Singers, Ruth Oatman, conductor.
Listen to a RealAudio (G2) stream of I Will Be Earth for SSA chorus and piano performed by Sounding Joy!, Marjorie Drysdale, conductor.
Listen to a RealAudio (G2) stream of I Will Be Earth for SSA chorus and piano performed by the Mt. Holyoke Glee Club, Catharine Melhorn, director.

Download an a MP3 file of the first movement of this work.
Download an a MP3 file of the second movement of this work.
Download an a MP3 file of the third movement of this work.
Download an a MP3 file of the fourth movement of this work.
Download an a MP3 file of the fifth movement of this work.
Download an a MP3 file of the sixth movement of this work.

Download an a MP3 file of the first movement of this work performed by the Singing Girls of Texas, Mark Stamper, artistic director.
Download an a MP3 file of the fifth movement of this work.

Download an a MP3 file of the fourth movement of this work performed by the Luther College Pike Kor, Sandra Peter, director.

Download an a MP3 file of I Will Be Earth for SSA chorus and piano performed by the Mt. Holyoke Glee Club, Catharine Melhorn, director.

Download an a MP3 file of the first movement of this work in the orchestral version.
Download an a MP3 file of the second movement of this work.
Download an a MP3 file of the third movement of this work.
Download an a MP3 file of the fourth movement of this work.
Download an a MP3 file of the fifth movement of this work.
Download an a MP3 file of the sixth movement of this work.

Download an a MP3 file of the first movement of this work in the orchestral version performed by Texas Woman's University, Joni Jensen, conductor.
Download an a MP3 file of the second movement of this work.
Download an a MP3 file of the third movement of this work.
Download an a MP3 file of the fourth movement of this work.
Download an a MP3 file of the fifth movement of this work.
Download an a MP3 file of the sixth movement of this work.

Download a PDF file of the May Swenson poetry used in this work as text for printing in concert programs.

Download a PDF file of the choral score of this composition. For perusal only -- not printable.


Commissioned by St. Joseph College, West Hartford, Connecticut, in celebration of the 60th anniversary year: 1932-1992.

Songs for Women's Voices are musical settings of six poems by American poet May Swenson. The poems address a variety of topics -- from feminism to romance to death -- yet they speak with one voice, one style, and one life-affirming philosophy. The musical settings are intended to present these poems in a simple and straightforward manner which seeks to portray the beauty, humor, and passion of the words.

It is suggested that each poem be read aloud (by a member of the chorus or reader) before the performance of each song. The poems may also be printed in the concert program. But it is recommended that the audience read the poems in advance (pre-concert or during intermission), perhaps also following along in the printed version during the reading aloud, and then focus on the chorus during the actual singing.

May Swenson (poet) was born in Logan, Utah in 1913. She died in Ocean View, Delaware in 1989. In her lifetime, she worked mainly as a poet, publishing over 450 poems. Much of her life was spent in Greenwich Village, New York City, where she was a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

Notes by the composer