Gwyneth Walker

If Ever Two Were One

for SATB Chorus (2003)

Return to Gwyneth Walker Music Catalog

Download an MP3 file of a performance of this work by the Mt. San Antonio College Chamber Singers, Bruce Rogers, conductor.
Download an MP3 file of a performance of this work by the University of Toledo Concert Chorale, Steven Hodge, conductor.
Download an MP3 file of a performance of this work by the Wichita State University Madrigal Singers, Tom Wine, conductor.

Download a PDF file of the choral score of this composition. For perusal only -- not printable.

Commissioned by Stace Stegman as a gift to his wife, Sandra Frey Stegman on the occasion of their 30th wedding anniversary, July 28, 2003 and premiered by the Bowling Green State University Collegiate Chorale

The lyrics for this song are taken from two poems of Anne Bradstreet (1612-1672): "To My Dear and Loving Husband" and "A Letter to Her Husband, Absent Upon Public Employment." The first poem is a simple testament of loving devotion, while the second (a fragment of which is interspersed into the song text) portrays the pain of separation/distance, and the joy of reunion.

The musical setting unfolds in three sections. The first poem is presented in phrases which open as the lines diverge. A listener might imagine a flower opening. Or, the reading of the poem with a sigh of ecstasy after each line. The intensity and range of the phrases increases until the words: "Then while we live, in love let us so persevere, that when we live no more, we may live ever."

The middle section laments the absence of the husband. As the Sopranos and Altos sing the new words, the Tenors and Basses quietly repeat a pattern of: "we may live ever" as a background. Finally, the voices join together to sing the passionate lines: "Flesh of thy flesh, bone of thy bone, I here, thou there, yet both are one." And then the opening section returns, more powerfully than before, concluding with a triumphant: "When we live no more, we may live ever!"

Notes by the composer