Gwyneth Walker

Moments of Music

for Viola, Cello, and Piano (2021)
for Clarinet, Cello, and Piano (2021)

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Download an MP3 file of a performance of the first movement of this work by Suzanne Corey-Sahlin, viola; Gunnar Sahlin, cello; and Marc Chan, piano.
Download an MP3 file of a performance of the second movement of this work.
Download an MP3 file of a performance of the third movement of this work.
Download an MP3 file of a performance of the fourth movement of this work.

Moments of Music is a series of short works composed during the (pandemic) Winter of 2021. The original intent was to provide repertoire for solo strings (viola, cello) with piano accompaniment. (A second instrumentation option, substituting clarinet for viola, was created later.) This music can be played at home (even substituting a MIDI realization in MP3 format for the live pianist if necessary), or in concert/church performance.

In "Falling Light," the cello assumes a melodic role, while the piano provides a cascading background (as light descending, perhaps at the end of the day). In contrast, "Morning Comes" gives the viola a rhythmic character which is shared with the piano. While "Falling Light" suggests an evening mood, "Morning Comes" starts the day with energy!

"Amazing Grace" opens with a piano introduction supporting sostenuto, pulsing 8ths in the strings. This texture may suggest some of the longing felt in this time of isolation. The melody arrives in the cello, answered by viola. This is the hymn tune "Amazing Grace," adapted to an elongated approach. The arrangement ends triumphantly, marked with strength.

The fourth movement is based on the Gaelic melody associated with the hymn "Morning Has Broken." Here the emphasis is on complete simplicity. The key is simply C major, and the music opens with a solo line in the piano. The new morning arrives. There is joy as the harmony fills in with arpeggio patterns. And the music ends with celebratory rhythms.

Specifically, these pieces were composed for the husband/wife duo of Gunnar Sahlin (Cello) and Suzanne Corey-Sahlin (Viola), friends and neighbors of the composer. Indeed, since these string players live under the same roof, they can perform the music at home. Or, they may join forces with pianists/colleagues for concerts in local Connecticut churches.

Notes by the composer