by Jim Lowe, The Times Argus, Barre-Montpelier, Vermont
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Read notes for Bicentennial Suite (1990) for orchestra
....The concert was timely -- it featured the world premiere of Gwyneth Walker's Bicentennial Suite, written for the orchestra to celebrate 200 years of Vermont statehood. (Walker, by the way, lives in Braintree.) ...
Gwyneth Walker's Bicentennial Suite, originally written for the Randolph High School Band and later orchestrated for the Philharmonic, mixes humor and Vermont flavor to give the five movement work a "down home" appeal. "The Governor's Salute" is a brief fanfare with lots of brass. (Where does the Oriental flavor come from?) "Pastorale evokes the rural hills on a summer day, complete with chirping birds.
Using just about every percussion instrument available, "Ethan Allen Rides Again" is an entertaining and jaunty ride through the state -- complete with Allen's legendary rustic character. "The Floating Bridge," the least successful of the movements, pays tribute to that device in Brookfield and is meant to evoke the bridge moving with the water. The final "Bicentennial March" is a rousing tribute, full of Vermont themes. This work, although not so much one of substance, is inventive, entertaining and a real tribute to the composer's adopted state.
From The Times Argus, Barre-Montpelier, Vermont, April 23, 1991