Gwyneth Walker

Review of "Symphony of Grace" (1999) for Orchestra

by Jules Langert, San Francisco Classical Voice

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The final composition was the world premiere of a work just completed by Vermont's prolific Gwyneth Walker, Symphony of Grace. Though in a folk-inspired style reminiscent of Harris and Copland, the ideas in its four movements are strong, the invention fresh, the orchestral writing sometimes dazzlingly unexpected, always extremely effective.

After the infectious energy of the opening movement, came gentle playfulness in alternation with lyrical and dance-like episodes in the second movement (scored only for strings), and an edge of surrealism in the jazzy scherzo (scored only for winds). The last movement provided a compelling finale both to the piece and to this concert of distinctive and unusual music, which the Women's Philharmonic and its conductor, Apo Hsu, performed with admirable conviction and authority.

From the San Francisco Classical Voice, San Francisco, California, October 16, 1999