Return to Gwyneth Walker Music Catalog
Read Composer Helps Key Chorale Celebrate 20th Anniversary by Charlie Huisking, The Herald Tribune. (2005)
Read a review of Three Days by the Sea (2004) for SATB chorus and piano by Gayle Williams, The Sarasota Herald-Tribune.
Download an a MP3 file of the third movement of this work performed by the Key Chorale, Joseph Caulkins, conductor.
Download an a MP3 file of the first movement of this work performed by the Key Chorale, Daniel Moe, 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 a PDF file of the poetry used in this work as text for printing in concert programs.
#1. “The Bottom of the Sea” (text by Thomas Merton)
#2. “Gifts from the Sea” (text by Anne Morrow Lindbergh)
#3. “Down to the Sea” (text by Norah Mary Holland)
Commissioned by the Key Chorale, in celebration of their 20th season, 2005. Premiered by the Key Chorale, April 17, 2005, Sarasota, FL. Daniel Moe, Music Director.
Three texts, by three different authors, form the basis of this choral work. It is intended that a diversity of aspects of the sea be explored.
“The Bottom of the Sea” is a product of imagination – the ocean floor, the home of mermaids, “where waters most lock music in,” a dimly-lit room where “lost orchestras play.” [The orchestras play a waltz.] This song is characterized by descending lines into the depths of the piano and choral ranges.
“Gifts from the Sea” are found on the beach. One might find shells, perhaps the shell of a hermit crab. One might also find simplicity. Patience and faith come from the sea. “One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach.”
Norah Mary Holland, a Canadian poet, cousin of W. B. Yeats, provides the lyrics for the closing song, “Down to the Sea.” Here is the dark, strong, passionate sea, the “waters, wild and wide.” This is sustained and powerful music, with the rolling waves often portrayed in the piano accompaniment.
A love and a fear of the sea are combined. “O strong and terrible Mother Sea, let me lie once more on your cool white breast.” There is no home on the land. In the final voyage, “I will go down to the sea again.”
[The texts and concept for these songs were formed during the composer’s residency at the Hermitage Artists Retreat on Manasota Key, FL during the Winter of 2004, while walking on the beach!]
Notes by the composer