Gwyneth Walker

Morning Songs

for Organ (2001)

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Download a PDF file of the score of this composition. This file of excerpted sample pages is for perusal only and is not printable.

Composed for Carson Cooman -- Premiered by Carson Cooman, January 10, 2002, The Memorial Church at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Morning Songs is a set of three, short pieces for organ. They take the form of prelude, meditation and postlude. Each work is signaled by the announcement of a thematic motive associated with the title.

"Welcome Day!" is bouncy, with triplet accompaniment. The words "welcome day" are introduced in a rhythmic pattern of eighth-note (eighth rest), eighth-note (eighth rest) and half note -- as if to say "Wel-come Day!" In general, the theme is presented in the left-hand, with joyful filigree accompaniment in the right-hand.

"In This Still Room (Are Angel Voices)" is an homage to the Quaker poet, John Greenleaf Whittier, in his poem "In This Still Room." The Whittier poem speaks of the presence of God within the quiet Quaker Meeting. This meditation for organ is inspired by the imagery of the still room (church), often expressed in slowly-unfolding low-range sonorities, and the active presence of the spirit (perhaps angel voices), expressed by rapid patterns in a high range. The room, the stillness, the voices, the spirit appear as musical fragments which are juxtaposed and superimposed. The movement ends with one, lone high (angel) voice.

"Go Forth With Joy!" is an energetic postlude. The rhythmic thematic contour (pick-up quarter, followed by half-notes and a dotted-half-note) celebrates the words "go forth with joy!" This 4-note theme recurs in many guises, including a syncopated statement near the end.

The themes of all three movements are interrelated, spanning the interval of a fourth.

Notes by the composer