Gwyneth Walker

A Concerto of Hymns and Spirituals

for Trumpet and Orchestra (1997)
(piano reduction available)

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Read a review of A Concerto of Hymns and Spirituals (1997) for trumpet and orchestra by David Seals, International Trumpet Guild Journal.

View/download a perusal PDF file of the full score of this orchestral work.

View/download a PDF file of the solo part of this work (C trumpet).

Commissioned by the Carson City Chamber Orchestra.

This Concerto comprises three movements, each based on a particular hymn or spiritual. Each movement offers a distinct presentation and treatment of the original melody.

"All Creatures (of our God and King)" is a stately hymn. The qualities of spaciousness and breadth are emphasized in the gradual unfolding of the initial statement of the tune. One might hear the gentle breathing or pulsing of the earth in the string accompaniment. Then, as the energy of the music gathers, the creatures of the earth appear in the orchestra --mosquitoes (!), birds in flight, elephants and horses perhaps. All contribute to the full treatment of this hymn tune.

"Steal Away" is a far more reflective presentation. The orchestra opens this movement with descending semi-tones marked "as falling tears." And this opening motif permeates the entire movement, surrounding the melody with tears. A duet is created between the solo trumpet and a clarinet, expanding upon the tears pattern. And indeed the movement closes with the two soloists elaborating these phrases over "sighing" harmonic progressions in the orchestra.

"Go Tell it on the Mountain" is placed in a swing rhythm for a lively and joyous interpretation. Various newly-composed counter motives are interspersed within the spiritual as a means of developing the rhythms inherent in the song. And there is frequent playful "theme-swapping" between the trumpet and the orchestra. A section near the end of the movement features the Percussion Section while the trumpet enjoys the various uses of the mute. This is a particularly celebratory movement.

Notes by the composer