Gwyneth Walker

All Things Wonderful

for SATB Chorus, Two Trumpets, Percussion, and Organ (2021)

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View/download a PDF file of the score of this work. Parts available upon request.

Commissioned by the Salisbury Singers, Worcester MA to honor their Artistic Director, Dr. Michelle Graveline, on the occasion of her retirement after 22 years as conductor: 1998-2020
Premiered by the Salisbury Singers, Bradford Dumont, conductor, Mechanics Hall, Worcester, MA, November 7, 2021

Among the many cherished poems offering praise for the natural world, Gerard Manley Hopkins's "Pied Beauty" sits atop the list. Glory be to God for dappled things - for skies of couple-color as a brinded cow. The uniqueness of imagery and the universality of message combine to create superb poetry. Praise him! Glory!

The second stanza of "Pied Beauty" opens with All things counter, original, spare, strange... These words bring to mind the hymn lyrics "All Things Bright and Beautiful" by Cecil Frances Alexander. And thus, All Things Wonderful was inspired by the combination of these two poems which share similar texts... and a reverence for God in nature.

The Hopkins poetry opens the music. These are delicate words, often performed by solo voices. The entire chorus enters with ensemble singing of Praise him! Glory! And the full chorus remains to sing the All things bright and beautiful text. Particular delight is taken in creating the musical contrast between All creatures great (large, loud, widespread chord) and small (Tenors singing quietly on mid-range B-flat). Our Lord has made them all!

Notes by the composer