George Walker

Lyric for Strings

    Written in 1946, this work was premiered that year under the title Lament by the student orchestra of the Curtis Institute of Music conducted by Seymour Lipkin in a radio concert.  In the following year it received its public premiere by the National Gallery Orchestra conducted by Richard Bales as part of an annual American music festival in Washington.  The work, which lasts approximately six minutes, carries the dedication "To my grandmother."

    This work was completed after the death of the composer's grandmother.  He was a graduate student at the Curtis Institute of Music at that time.

    After a brief introduction, the principal theme is stated by the first violins with imitations appearing in the other instruments.  The linear nature of the material alternates with static moments of harmony.  After the second of two climaxes, the work concludes with reposeful cadences that were presented earlier.