Gwyneth Walker

Love Unfolding

for SATB Choir and Organ (or Brass Quintet) (2001)

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Listen to a RealAudio (G2) stream of a performance of this work by the Canterbury Choir of All-Saints Church, Pasadena, James Walker, conductor.

Download an MP3 file of a performance of this work by the Philovox Choir of Boston, Jane Ring Frank, conductor.

Commissioned by the Episcopal Diocese of Vermont in honor of the consecration of Thomas Clark Ely, Tenth Bishop of Vermont. Premiered by the Diocesan Choir and the Vermont Brass Quintet, April 28, 2001.

Love Unfolding is based on a text from the Revelations of Divine Love of the 14th-century mystic Julian of Norwich. Julian's meditations led her to feel God's presence in the form of inspired "showings." Thus, in Love Unfolding, Julian's message is that "Love is our Lord's meaning." She saw "full surely that before ever God made us, he loved us. And this love was never quenched nor ever shall be."

The musical interpretation of these words focuses on the unfolding awareness of God's presence in our lives. Thus, the introduction "unfolds" as the music rises in pitch and dynamics: a growth of the spirit. After the peaceful entrance of the voices, the pace quickens gradually, highlighting Julian's observation that "In this love, he has done all his works." The tonality shifts from minor to major, and the music rises to a celebratory closing section of "Love everlasting, without beginning, without end."

Notes by the composer