Gwyneth Walker

One Song

for SATB Chorus and Piano (2021)

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Download a PDF file of selected sample pages from the score of this composition. For perusal only -- not printable.

Commissioned by the Richmond (VA) Choral Society in celebration of their 75th concert season: 1947-2022

This spare-yet-powerful poem by Robert Lax has a singular message: that there is only one song, a song of the universe... the animals... the natural world. This is the song of truth.

In creating a musical setting, the composer has started with a piano introduction inspired by the wonderful image "the animals lope to it." For here the music can bounce, or "lope away" with playful energy. The listener may hear leaping creatures, or swimming fish.

Individual voices then enter, answering one another with phrases about the sun, stars, snow, and grass. This dialogue grows into a full chorus singing the refrain "One Song."

A middle section is emphatic. "There is no end to the song... the song is forever. Truth is the name of the song." The closing words "and the song is truth" are conclusive, yet gentle. They lead to a return of the opening animal motives in the piano. The ending fades away, as repetitions of the word "forever" extend into the future.

The challenge of creating a choral setting of this text is that there are so very few words. The reward is that the words are exquisitely beautiful!

Notes by the composer