Gwyneth Walker

La Ternura (Tenderness)

for Soprano and Piano (2008)
for Soprano, Oboe, Percussion, and String Orchestra (2008)

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Download an MP3 file of the first movement of this work performed by Michelle Areyzaga, soprano and Camerata Chicago, Drostan Hall, conductor.
Download an MP3 file of the second movement of this work.
Download an MP3 file of the third movement of this work.
Download an MP3 file of the fourth movement of this work.
Download an MP3 file of the fifth movement of this work.
Download an MP3 file of the sixth movement of this work.

Download an MP3 file of the first movement of this work performed by Michelle Areyzaga, soprano and Jamie Shaak, piano.
Download an MP3 file of the second movement of this work.
Download an MP3 file of the third movement of this work.
Download an MP3 file of the fourth movement of this work.
Download an MP3 file of the fifth and sixth movement of this work.

View a video presentation of a performance of the sixth movement ("Carro del Cielo") of this work by Michelle Areyzaga, piano and Jamie Shaak, piano.

Download a PDF file of the piano score of this composition. This file of excerpted sample pages is for perusal only and is not printable. To hear MP3 files of the complete songs, see the above links.
Download a PDF file of the full score of this composition. For perusal only -- not printable.

Download a PDF file of the Gabriela Mistral poetry (with translations) used in this work as text for printing in concert programs.


(Photograph of soprano Michelle Areyzaga, Gwyneth Walker, and conductor Drostan Hall after the premiere of this work.)

A photo of Michelle Areyzaga, Gwyneth Walker, and Drostan Hall

La Ternura (Tenderness) is a set of songs based on the poetry of Chilean poet Gabriela Mistral (1889-1957). Mistral (a pseudonym for Lucila Godoy y Alcayaga) was an active poet, educator, and diplomat; she was the first Latin American to win the Nobel Prize in Literature (1945).

The poems are found in a set entitled "Ternura" (Tenderness) published in 1923. These are songs of mother to son. However, the message of maternal care is colored by many personal losses in the poet's life – the death of family, lovers and even an adopted son. And surrounding the creation of the poems was the ever-present fear arising from the political unrest in Chile. Thus the mother, as she rocks her son to sleep, sings, “I who have lost everything am now afraid to sleep.”

The six songs in La Tenura range from tender, to occasionally entertaining, to intense and tragic. At the end of the cycle the mother dreams of the day that her child will leave the earth and be carried up to Heaven. “Lift up your face, my son, and receive the stars.”

Notes by the composer