Gwyneth Walker

Songs of Faith

for SATB Solo Quartet, SATB Chorus, Brass Quintet, Percussion, and Organ (2011)

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Download a PDF file of the choral score of this composition. For perusal only -- not printable.


Jointly commissioned by the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association, Ocean Grove, New Jersey and the Summit Music Festival, Summit, New Jersey - Jason C. Tramm, Music Director

Songs of Faith is a set of six movements of sacred celebration and reverence. The music is scored for chorus, solo voices, brass, percussion and organ. These performing resources are used in a variety of combinations to create both triumphant and intimate expression.

The outer movements have a common focus on the rock-like strength of faith. #1. "We Stand on a Rock" ("Who trusts in God's abiding love, builds on a rock that shall not move") and #6. "Where Moses Stood" ("If I could, I surely would stand on the rock where Moses stood."). The choral lines are direct and simple. The instrumental writing is forceful, full and even raucous!

The second movement, "Glorious Things," is similarly celebratory, but more florid. The word "glory" is repeated many times, in cascading patterns (perhaps reflective of light streaming down from heaven).

The inner movements are the most introspective selections of the set. 3. "The Gift of Love," scored for vocal quartet and organ, is based on 1 Corinthians, 13:1. "If I have not love, I am nothing." These words are expressed through personal, solo singing. The music ends very quietly, as the surrender of one's will to allow for the flow of love. 4. "Were You There?" for solo trumpet and organ is an arrangement of the familiar spiritual. This is a sorrowful interpretation, with falling intervals (perhaps representing tears).

"Abide With Me" adapts the well-known hymn text by substituting the phrase "Be with me" for the original "Abide with me." [The latter is saved for the ending.] A middle verse rises in range and dynamics with the words "Raise high your cross before my closing eyes. Shine through the gloom, and point me to the skies." After this ecstatic section, the music descends and quiets prayerfully, with repetition of the words "Come live in me, O Lord." The song ends a cappella, with the final phrase "Abide with me."

Songs of Faith is based on familiar hymns and biblical texts. [New music is composed for #1, 2, 3 & 5.] These are childhood favorites of the composer. The intent of this work is to celebrate a lifelong heritage of faith through music.

Notes by the composer