Gwyneth Walker

Bicentennial Suite

for Orchestra (1990)

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Read a review of Bicentennial Suite (1990) for orchestra by Jim Lowe, The Times Argus.

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

Commissioned by the Vermont Philharmonic.

Bicentennial Suite was written in celebration of the Bicentennial of the statehood of Vermont: 1791-1991. The five movements of the Suite, intended for performance by High School and Community Bands especially in Vermont, portray elements of the history, beauty and current vitality of the state.

"The Govenor's Salute" is a tribute to Governor Madeleine M. Kunin, whom the composer proudly salutes as an emblem of the aspirations of many Vermonters.

"Pastorale" is a musical portrait of the Vermont landscape -- peaceful and spacious.

"Ethan Allen Rides Again!" summons up the energy of Vermont hero Ethan Allen and the other 18th-century settlers who rode out on horseback to defend their homeland. The rhythm of horses' hooves and the cracking of whips can be heard.

"The Floating Bridge" was inspired by the pontoon bridge in Brookfield, Vermont. With the crossing of each vehicle, the bridge joyfully bobs up and down in the water -- dancing in the lake. Similarly, the musical phrases (and the musicians themselves!) sway in irregular "pontoon-rhythms."

"A Very Bicentennial March" triumphantly speaks for itself.

Notes by the composer