Gwyneth Walker

The Light of Three Mornings

for Chamber Orchestra (1987)
for Orchestra (1987, rev. 2001)

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Read a review of The Light of Three Mornings (1987) for orchestra by Everett Hafner, Daily Hampshire Gazette.
Read a review of The Light of Three Mornings (1987) for orchestra by Michael Linder, The Times Record News.

Listen to a RealAudio (G2) stream of the first movement of this work performed by the Women's Philharmonic, JoAnn Falletta conductor.
Listen to a RealAudio (G2) stream of the second movement of this work.
Listen to a RealAudio (G2) stream of the third movement of this work.
Download an a MP3 file of the first movement of this work performed by the Women's Philharmonic, JoAnn Falletta conductor.
Download an a MP3 file of the second movement of this work.
Download an a MP3 file of the third movement of this work.

View/download a perusal PDF file of the full score of this orchestral work.


Commissioned by the Lake Placid Sinfonietta. Winner of the New England Philharmonic Composition Competition, 1989.

The Light of Three Mornings: Sketches of Braintree Hill is a three-movement work for chamber orchestra inspired by the purity and beauty of mornings spent in the composer's studio in Braintree, Vermont. The view of nearby Braintree Hill predominates.

The first movement, "When the Stars Begin to Fall," is a contemporary arrangement of the familiar spiritual tune, "My Lord, What a Morning! (when the stars began to fall." A newly-composed rhythmic middle section is inserted to emphasize the celebratory nature of the song. Near the end of the movement, "glissandi" in the strings and cascading scales in the winds are the falling stars.

"First Light" is a slow second movement featuring a sustained melody for solo violin. This melodic line is engendered from the blurred patterns heared in the woodwinds at the end of the first movement. As the theme travels among the instruments, it grows in intensity. The ending is abrupt.

"Hints and Tappings" was composed in a spirit of fun. Delight is taken in exploring unusual instrumental (and vocal!) sounds. This is rhythmic and light-hearted music. The theme and harmonic progressions are derived from the first movement. A full quotation from "When the Stars Begin to Fall" appears in the upper strings near the end, but the tappings prevail.

Notes by the composer