Gwyneth Walker

Be Our Light in the Darkness

for SATB Chorus, Treble Solo, Organ, Percussion (1988)

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Bethesda Evensong is a musical setting of the Evening Prayer Service for Choir, Organ and (optional) Strings and Percussion. The music was commissioned by the Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea (Palm Beach, Florida) in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the church: 1889-1989.

Of particular interest in this work are the tropical and dramatic elements. In the courtyard of Bethesda-by-the-Sea, palm trees sway in the breeze and tap against the stone church. These tapping sounds are brought into the music as maracas shaking softly, or hands tapping. Rhythmic patterns often "sway" -- created by shifting or irregular meters. The result is an often-traditional musical language infused with tropical sound effects.

The texture for Be Our Light in the Darkness is often solo voice, especially near the beginning. The accompaniment is minimal. And, the choir offers responses to the soloist. Eventually, the Organ accompaniment becomes more active. The choir enters, and then the congregation may join in.

The rapid figures in the Organ at the end may lead this anthem directly into the Organ solo, In Celebration [ECS #4481], if desired.

Notes by the composer