Gwyneth Walker

Review of "Short Set for String Quartet" (1993)

by Philip Kennicott, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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Walker, a Vermont-based composer who is pleased to write music that accommodates a wide range of sophistication from both performers and listeners, was on hand to introduce her quartet. She spoke of her background in American music(s): folk, rock, jazz and classical. Though she is self-deprecating about her classical training, the truth is out. Short Set, is a survey in six well-crafted vignettes of a variety of different American music styles. One hears the open fifths of Copland, the arching, large-interval lyrical lines of Barber, as well as a soft-shoe number and a rhythm-and-blues pastiche. The work presented rhythmic and stylistic challenges to the young players. The fourth movement, marked "Rhythm and Blues," needed more freedom and a willingness to play dirty. Otherwise, the quartet assimilated Walker's music as thoroughly as Walker has assimilated her stylistic antecedents.

From The St. Louis Post Dispatch, Missouri