Gwyneth Walker

Peace I Ask of Thee, O River

for SSAA Chorus and Piano (2005)
for SSAA Chorus and String Orchestra (2005)
(SATB and TTBB versions are available; see the page for New Millennium Suite)

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Download an MP3 file of a performance of this work (with piano) by the St. Louis Women's Chorale, Scott Schoonover, conductor.

Download an MP3 file of a performance of this work (with strings) by the St. Louis Women's Chorale, Scott Schoonover, conductor.


Commissioned by the St. Louis Women’s Chorale, Scott Schoonover, music director, in celebration of their tenth season: 1995-2005

This work is a setting of the traditional song, “Peace, I Ask of Thee, O River.” New material has been added to form the accompaniment and to provide interludes between and after the verses. The intent of creating these additions was to enhance the image of the river as it flows through the song. And perhaps to expand upon the message of peace.

The work opens with an ascending scale, as a supplication. Then follows an arpeggiated “river” pattern which will recur many times in the song. The chorus enters with the first verse, which is followed by a section with new lyrics (“peace like the falling rain...like the floating cloud...). The choral phrases are on fixed pitches, with the river flowing beneath. The second verse is presented, followed by an expanded return of the interlude. At the end, the lines descend and settle into a peaceful cadence.

Notes by the composer