Gwyneth Walker

Celestial Keys

for Tuba and Organ (2004)

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Download an a MP3 file of the entire work performed by Jay Hunsberger, tuba and Jim Hawkinson, organ.

View/download a PDF file of selected sample pages from the organ score of this composition.

View/download a PDF file of selected sample pages from the tuba part of this composition.

Composed for James Hawkinson -- Organist, and Jay Hunsberger -- Tubist

These four pieces for Tuba and Organ were composed during a Composer Residency by the sea, near Sarasota, Florida. Thus, the reference to "keys" pertains to the location of composition (Manasota Key Island) and to the keyboard of the Organ. [And to the beautiful tonalities!] Additional island references appear in the movement titles.

"Light" is everywhere on the island -- on the sand, in the sunlight bouncing off of the waves. Thus, the opening movement is delicate, perhaps with a bounce. This is a short movement, in the "bright" key of D Major. The opening is marked "Grandly, as a church filling up with light."

When one is by the ocean, one often listens, mostly to the sounds of the waves. And, this second movement is quiet, as if listening to the sea. Wave-patterns are introduced near the middle of the piece. Throughout, there is motivic imitation between the Tuba and Organ, as each listens to, and answers, the other. This becomes an intense movement, perhaps as though listening to the soul of the sea.

"Imagination" is light-hearted, with the musicians playing at one another, perhaps teasing one another, and also teasing the audience! There is a humorous/nautical character to the theme, which is marked "jaunty," in the style of a sea chanty.

"Glory" is inspired by the vast beauty of the sea, as well as by the glorious strength of the Organ and Tuba. Thus, the opening theme is marked "grandly." There are considerable "forte" passages in this movement, often using the lowest ranges of the instruments. Brass timbres are predominant in the Organ registration, in strength.

Notes by the composer