Gwyneth Walker

O Gracious Light

for SATB Chorus and Organ (1988)

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Bethesda Evensong is a musical setting of the Evening Prayer Service for Choir, Organ and (optional) Strings and Percussion. The music was commissioned by the Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea (Palm Beach, Florida) in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the church: 1889-1989.

Of particular interest in this work are the tropical and dramatic elements. In the courtyard of Bethesda-by-the-Sea, palm trees sway in the breeze and tap against the stone church. These tapping sounds are brought into the music as maracas shaking softly, or hands tapping. Rhythmic patterns often "sway" -- created by shifting or irregular meters. The result is an often-traditional musical language infused with tropical sound effects.

O Gracious Light is intended for full choir and organ. The choral writing is mostly in unison (octaves). However, a 3-part homophonic texture evolves near the end.

This is an especially joyous setting of the text.

Notes by the composer