Customer Service - (973) 857-3440

Lilacs Bloomed, The (A Choral Triptych)
for SATB chorus & piano

Composer: Locklair, Dan


Publication Type: Choral Octavo

Catalog Number: 91480520
Add to Cart:

This work is based on the first three stanzas of Walt Whitman’s lengthy 1865 poem mourning the death of American President Abraham Lincoln. Just as lilacs link the first and third stanzas of Walt Whitman’s poem, so, too, are movements 1. "...I mourned" and 3. "...a miracle" musically linked. Further, in the piano of the third movement, a chaconne (i.e. a recurring group of chords) provides the harmonic foundation of the movement as it symbolizes the enduring lilac bush. The chaconne reaches its climax at the breaking of the lilac sprig that the poet will place on Lincoln’s coffin. Even as the first and third movements are essentially gentle and lyrical in their expression of grief, the contrasting second movement, "...fallen star", sets Mr. Whitman’s agonizing and almost uncontrollable verses of grief and despair in a visceral and dramatic manner. Throughout this second movement a well-known tune associated with the Civil War is quoted. Originally known as "John Brown’s Body", Julia Ward Howe wrote her now famous 1861 hymn, Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory ("The Battle Hymn of the Republic"), specifically to fit this tune. Even as this melody (in G Major) is richly harmonized in the piano throughout the second movement, the tune is also the basis for the choral material, but there it is cast in Aeolian mode and in the style of early parallel organum. Organum, the earliest polyphonic texture, was truly a "...powerful" to the history of music. Here open harmonies in fifths, with its harmonic contrast in the piano, help express the grief – even the anger of grief – that Mr. Whitman’s second stanza so vividly expresses.

"Dan's choral music is powerfully expressive in so many ways and the Wake Forest choral singers benefit greatly from learning and performing his works. They responded to The Lilacs Bloomed immediately because of its lyrical foundation, clear phrase structure, and important literary text. Each movement's textual mood was easily understood from Dan's writing style. The opening movement's sense of "mourning" can be heard in the shape of both the choral lines and the piano's motives. The second movement's portrayal of the poet's "grief" over Lincoln's passing comes out in the choir's separation from the piano's Battle Hymn quotations and alternation with that music in commentary form. The final movement's chord progression and engaging melodic theme captures Whitman's "memory" of the lilac flower's positive meaning, which is also how he felt about Lincoln. It balances perfectly with the second movement's profound depth of helplessness to capture Whitman's complex emotions about Lincoln. All three movements were easily mastered by the choir because of Dan's ability to maintain motivic unity throughout the work and create a piano accompaniment that supports the choir and is independent of the choir at the same time. It is always my pleasure to conduct Dan's choral music and to premiere works that he writes for our students to present for the first time. I look forward to hearing of many future performances of The Lilacs Bloomed."

-- Reflections on the premiere by Brian Gorelick, Director of Choral Ensembles, Wake Forest University

SATB Chorus, Piano
Duration: 8'
Text: Walt Whitman When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d
Composed: 2009
Published by: Subito Music Publishing

Minimum order quantity: 8 copies. Perusal copies are available by contacting (include the organization name with your request). To order quantities fewer than 8, please call customer service at (973) 857-3440.

© 2019 Subito Music Corporation
Website Design by: Armsby Services
Powered by Zen Cart.