Gwyneth Walker

Sanctuary

for Organ (2009)

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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.


Commissioned by the American Guild of Organists for the Biennial National Convention in Washington, DC – 2010

Sanctuary is a set of three short pieces for solo organ. The titles are derived from definitions of, or associations with, the word “Sanctuary.”

“Reverence,” the worshipful experience one has within a church sanctuary, is expressed gently (in the opening section), forcefully and triumphantly (middle/climactic section) and prayerfully (ending). The musical language is simple and sparse.

“All Nature Sings” is inspired by a Nature Sanctuary, specifically a Bird Sanctuary. There are many bird calls. One especially “exuberant bird” sings the loudest and most joyfully!

A sanctuary is also a place where one may go to find refuge – from violence, from enemies, from the outer world. This is a place of peace. And the peacefulness of this third movement may be heard in the opening chords, downward arpeggios falling like grace upon the listener. A theme is then introduced above the arpeggios. Melodic lines are most often descending – settling and resting. A middle section grows in tempo and dynamics, rising perhaps to a light entering the upper reaches of the sanctuary. At the end, one last ray of light (or perhaps a bird call) sparkles and fades.

Notes by the composer