Gwyneth Walker

High, Lows Mark Rough Day At the Symphony

by Florence Fisher, Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Return to Gwyneth Walker Home Page
Return to Gwyneth Walker Music Catalog
Return to Gwyneth Walker Recordings Page
Read notes for Open the Door (1990) for orchestra

The Florida West Coast Symphony Saturday-matinee performance unexpectedly became a cliff-hanger: Would the missing musicians arrive to join the on-stage members, or would they remain trapped on the Tampa side of the Sunshine Skyway bridge?

I thought only the Department of Transportation could arrange such an event, but it seems that a would-be suicide on the span was responsible.

Eventually, the missing members made it in time for the second offering on the program, Schubert's Unfinished Symphony.

Stalling for time, Conductor Paul Wolfe led the orchestra and audience in the slowest rendition of the national anthem ever gasped out by a loyal audience. Then, the young American composer Gwyneth Walker, on hand for the performance of her Open the Door overture, charmed the audience with a witty account of her composing ambience among the cows on the Vermont farm where she lives. Whatever her inspiration, her overture proved to be a bracing, airy delight of varied rhythms, its logical structure and harmonic accessibility refreshingly unpretentious.

It was received with such enthusiasm that Wolfe (still awaiting reinforcements) asked the audience's permission to repeat the piece. It sounded just as fresh the second time around -- every percussive detail cleanly marked, dynamic constrasts sensitively observed, the orchestral depth limpid. ...

From the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, November 15, 1994