Gwyneth Walker

Chords of Love

for SATB Chorus and Treble Voices (2002)

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Read a review of Chords of Love (2002) for SATB chorus and treble voices by Brett Scott, The Choral Journal.
Listen to a RealAudio (G2) stream of a performance of this work by the Worcester (MA) MasterSingers and Worcester Children's Chorus, Malcolm Halliday, conductor.

Download an MP3 file of a performance of this work by the Taylor University Chorale, Catherine Randall, soloist.

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Commissioned for the combined choirs of King Philip Middle School and Hall High School -- West Hartford, CT, Lorri Cetto, Music Director.

The text for Chords of Love has been adapted from the lyrics of "The Pilgrim's Farewell," an early American song found in The Sacred Harp (1844). The stanzas have been rearranged to end with the beautiful phrase: "To you I'm bound with chords of love."

The music is new, and yet reflective of the straightforward style of The Sacred Harp singing. This is New England simplicity. Chordal structures are sparse. The meter remains constant.

The song opens with a solo voice (or treble voices) expressing the Pilgrim's farewell to friends. This message is then taken up by the chorus in the first verse. A joyous refrain follows: "I'll march to the Promised Land. I'll land on Canaan's shore."

This alternation between Pilgrim solo, verse and refrain is repeated several times leading to the final verse: "For we believe His Precious Word: To you I'm bound with chords of love." The final cadence is achieved through the chorus building up a rich, nine-part "chord of love."

Notes by the composer