Return to Gwyneth Walker Music Catalog
View an excerpt from the published score of this work.
Listen to a RealAudio (G2) stream of a performance of this work by the Philovox Choir of Boston, Jennifer Lester, conductor.
Download an MP3 file of a performance of this work by the Philovox Choir of Boston, Jennifer Lester, conductor.
Download an MP3 file of a performance of this work by the Union Avenue Christian Church Choir, Scott Schoonover, conductor.
Commissioned by Betty Clark, Organist and Choir Director, Trinity Episcopal Church, Rutland, Vermont.
The poem by Rainer Maria Rilke provides an especially thoughtful and sensitive text. The central image is that of a God who "walks with us silently out of the night." God's spirit is within us, moves in our shadows and holds our hand.
The musical setting takes the form of two waves of growth, each time returning to the central lines: "God speaks to each of us as he makes us, and walks with us silently out of the night." For, as we set out in life, we are constantly reminded that God is with us.
The first wave moves from "These are the words we dimly hear" to "make big shadows I can move in." And the second carries from "Let everything happen to you" to "give me your hand." The closing section merges the words "give me your hand" and "walks with us silently out of the night." For, these are the essential images of the poetry. The final patterns of high sixteenth notes in the organ might be heard as stars.
This anthem is a musical setting of sensitive and thoughtful poetry. Much care has been taken to achieve growth and shape though dynamics and tempi. Therefore, it is essential to adhere to the markings as closely as possible. At letter B, the tempo is marked 108, and should stay at this tempo right through m. 24. At m. 25, the tempo is once again 108, and should stay there until one m. before E. The tempo markings until the ending are important to the musical presentation.
In the organ accompaniment, the patterns of high 16th notes at mm. 3, 8 and the ending are meant to depict stars. Therefore, a suitable high stop (gentle, not piercing) should be selected in the registration).
Notes by the composer