Gwyneth Walker

An Instrument of Your Peace

for SATB Chorus and Piano (2020)

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"The Prayer of Saint Francis" (Make me an instrument of your peace) is a timeless and much beloved text, either as a prayer to be spoken, or as lyrics for a song. The simplicity and humility of these words have a universal appeal.

This new musical setting includes a few additional phrases added to the original. With a choral composition in mind, the composer has expanded the opening lines to:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
make me a voice to calm the troubled water.

And in this time of division and social unrest, the gesture of caring is broadened:

Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is danger, let me guard my brother.

For as we protect ourselves from violence, we are also called to protect each other.

The musical interpretation features choral lines surrounded by a developing piano accompaniment. The piano starts quietly (as calm water), and then grows in motion beneath the words Where there is injury, pardon. The climax for chorus and piano comes with a forceful entreaty of Make me an instrument of your peace. Then the music calms to an a cappella closing section. At the end, the piano re-enters with a dispersed chord surrounding the chorus. This may be heard as a "protective shield" - to guard my brother.

Notes by the composer