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

Composer: Locklair, Dan

  • 91480520

Publication Type

Choral Octavo


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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.

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.
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