The Music of Elizabeth Alexander

All Works

Title

Poet/Lyricist

Voicing/Instrumentation

Level

...or a musician
A mercurial musing on music’s mysterious source
Poet/Lyricist: Philip Dacey
  • SATB, orchestra
Level: MA
Get Curious
A riff on Curiosity's ability to transform Anger's rage, bitterness and fear into something beautiful and transformative
Poet/Lyricist: Elizabeth Alexander
  • SSAA a cappella
Level: MA
A Garret of Old Playthings
Five Carl Sandburg songs full of wistfulness, gumption and glee
Poet/Lyricist: Carl Sandburg
  • High voice, piano
Level: MA
A Love Like That (individual song)
A tender ballad of unconditional love
Poet/Lyricist: Hafiz / Daniel Ladinsky
  • Low voice, piano
  • Medium voice, piano
  • High voice, piano
Level: M
A Love Like That: Songs of Unconditional Love
Six songs full of wholehearted grace, generosity and awe
Poet/Lyricist: Silsbee, Emerson, Hafiz, Alexander, White
  • Low voice, piano
  • Medium voice, piano
  • High voice, piano
Level: Various
A Palette To Paint Us As We Are
A moving tribute to our skins’ true colors
Poet/Lyricist: Gerald Rich
  • SSA, piano
  • SATB, piano
Level: M
A Perfect Circle
An evocative tone-painting for bellchoir
  • Handbells
Level: MA
Allegro Mischevioso
A moderately easy scherzo full of impish delightful
  • Viola, piano
Level: ME
April Rain Song
A richly-textured lullaby sung by the rain itself
Poet/Lyricist: Langston Hughes
  • SATB a cappella
Level: MA
Be Grateful, My Soul
A passionate testament to life’s worth, even when facing adversity and oppression
Poet/Lyricist: Norbert Čapek
  • SSAA a cappella OR 5-part canon
Level: M
Before the Bread
A gracious canon setting of a traditional English blessing
Poet/Lyricist: English folk prayer
  • 2 or 4 part treble choir a cappella
  • SATB a cappella
  • Community / Congregational Song
Level: ME
Being Who You Are
A lighthearted romp affirming individual differences (with a touch of Shakespeare!)
Poet/Lyricist: Elizabeth Alexander
  • SA, piano, misc. percussion
Level: ME
Bells in the High Tower
A beloved Hungarian carol celebrating the cyclical nature of the seasons
Poet/Lyricist: Hungarian carol / Howard Box
  • SATB, piano
Level: ME
Beware the Winter Settlin’ In
Irish midwinter merrymaking full of welcome and cheer
Poet/Lyricist: Elizabeth Alexander
  • SATB, Celtic band, opt. children’s choir
Level: M
Blessed Be the Flower That Triumphs
A rich meditation on tenacity, resilience, and rebirth
Poet/Lyricist: Michael DeVernon Boblett
  • SATB a cappella
  • SATB, chamber orchestra
Level: M
Calm the Tempests of My Heart
A prayer for peace within one’s own heart
Poet/Lyricist: Søren Kierkegaard
  • Flexible voicing: 2-4 pt choir a cappella
  • SSA a cappella
Level: E
Caterpillars Crawl
A lighthearted look at the daunting act of “going out on a limb”
Poet/Lyricist: Elizabeth Alexander
  • SA, piano
Level: ME
Cherish Your Doubt
An affirmation of that underrated but vital component of belief: doubt
Poet/Lyricist: Elizabeth Alexander
  • SSA, soloist, piano, opt. bass
  • SATB, soloist, piano, opt. bass
Level: M
Children, Go Where I Send Thee
A vibrant call-and-response arrangement of this enduring classic
Poet/Lyricist: African-American Spiritual
  • SA, soloist, piano
Level: E
Chosen People
An affirmation of the blessedness of all people
Poet/Lyricist: Elizabeth Alexander
  • SATB, piano
  • SATB, chamber ensemble
Level: M
Climb
A rapturous call to freedom and risk
Poet/Lyricist: Edna St. Vincent Millay
  • SSATB, piano
Level: MA
Create a Song Once More
St Cecilia invites King David to imagine a restorative path beyond guilt and shame
Poet/Lyricist: Elizabeth Alexander
  • SATB a cappella
Level: MA
Die Gedanken Sind Frei
A 16th century German protest song, recast with wit and defiance
Poet/Lyricist: 16th c. German protest song / Elizabeth Alexander
  • Vocal duet, piano
  • SATB, piano
Level: ME
Do Not Leave Your Cares At the Door
A feast of old-time gospel offering welcome and acceptance
Poet/Lyricist: Norman V. Naylor
  • SATB a cappella
Level: ME
Doors
A sweeping embrace of all heart-opening things: poems, mistakes, rain...
Poet/Lyricist: Dawna Markova
  • SSA, cello, piano
Level: MA
Dragon Dance
A lighthearted partner song about a Chinese dragon’s diverse, collaborative feet
Poet/Lyricist: Elizabeth Alexander
  • SA, piano
Level: ME
Even a Fist Was Once an Open Palm
A tender vision of the possibility and promise of peace
Poet/Lyricist: Yehuda Amichai
  • SATB a cappella
Level: A
Even the Stars will Wonder
Songs of love and loss in the aftermath of war
Poet/Lyricist: Rose Ausländer
  • Soprano, chamber orchestra
Level: A
Faith is the bird that feels the light
A sweet and soulful affirmation on darkness, light and faith
Poet/Lyricist: Rabindranath Tagore
  • SSA a cappella
  • SATB a cappella
Level: M
Fighting Over What We Believe
A bold meditation on conflict, communication and compassion
Poet/Lyricist: Elizabeth Alexander
  • SSA + SAB youth, piano
  • SSA, soloists, piano
  • SATB + SAB youth, piano
  • SATB, soloists, piano
Level: M
Finally On My Way To Yes
A gutsy celebration of life’s rough lessons
Poet/Lyricist: Pesha Gertler
  • SSATB, piano
Level: MA
Finally On My Way To Yes (CD/mp3)
Stellar performances by 10 diverse choruses
Poet/Lyricist: 10 Poets & 2 Proverbs
  • A variety of choral forces
Level: Various
Folks, I’m Telling You
A driving, blues-inflected riff on hard truth and deep love
Poet/Lyricist: Langston Hughes
  • SSATB, piano
Level: MA
For So the Children Come
An affirmation of the limitless potential of all children
Poet/Lyricist: Sophia Lyon Fahs
  • SATB, piano
Level: MA
Fractals
Five imaginative fantasies inspired by whimsical fractals
  • Bassoon, piano
Level: A
Freedom and Justice
A forthright and feisty song from my music theater work-in-progress, Split Hickory
Poet/Lyricist: Elizabeth Alexander
  • Vocalist
Level: M
Give Me a Laundry List (and I'll set it to music)
A lighthearted spin on a boast by composer Giaocchino Rossini
Poet/Lyricist: Giaocchino Rossini / Elizabeth Alexander
  • SSAA a cappella
  • SATB a cappella
Level: M
Glen Song
A playful ode to what’s really important…love, of course!
Poet/Lyricist: Scott Bates
  • SSATB, piano
Level: M
Go Out! (Concert-Length Work)
A poetic and feisty tribute to liberal religion and freedom of thought
Poet/Lyricist: Centuries of Strong-Minded People
  • A variety of vocal forces
Level: Various
Go Out! (Individual Song)
A rousing song of commission with a message of inclusion and love
Poet/Lyricist: John Murray (as rendered by Alfred S. Cole)
  • SATB, piano
Level: M
Grace
A reflection on the mystery and bounty of grace
Poet/Lyricist: Elizabeth Alexander
  • Low voice, piano
  • Medium voice, piano
  • High voice, piano
  • SSA, piano
  • SATB, piano
Level: ME
Handles
An uproarious affirmation of women’s bodies, minds and indomitable spirits
Poet/Lyricist: Elizabeth Alexander
  • SSAA, piano
Level: MA
Hear Us, O Never-Failing Light
An ancient Mozarabic Easter prayer extolling the bounty of divine Light
Poet/Lyricist: Mozarabic Easter Eve prayer
  • Flexible voicing: 2-4 pt choir a cappella
Level: ME
Holy One, Source of Radiance and Reason
A luminous affirmation of the unknowable holy presence found “within, among and beyond us”
Poet/Lyricist: Rob Eller-Isaacs
  • Flexible voicing: SATB a cappella OR 2-5 part canon
Level: ME
How To Sing Like a Planet
A genre-defying “instruction manual” as whimsical and varied as the singing planet which inspired it
Poet/Lyricist: Elizabeth Alexander
  • TBB, piano
  • SATB, piano
Level: MA
I Write This Poem Out Of Darkness
A solitary poet offers unvarnished compassion and solidarity to her imagined readers
Poet/Lyricist: George Ella Lyon
  • Vocal trio, flute, violin, piano
  • SSA, flute, violin, piano
Level: MA
If You Can Walk You Can Dance
A contagiously joyful Latin dance song
Poet/Lyricist: Zimbabwean proverb
  • SAB, piano, claves
  • SSA, piano, claves
  • TBB, piano, claves
  • SATB, piano, claves
Level: ME
I'll Go Alone
An affirmation of faith during difficult times
Poet/Lyricist: Evelyn K. Dudley
  • SSAA a cappella
  • SATB a cappella
  • TTBB a cappella
Level: MA
I’ll Tell You A Story, then…
An ordinary walk leads to an unexpected discovery about what it means to be fully human
Poet/Lyricist: Nancy White
  • Low voice, piano
  • Medium voice, piano
  • High voice, piano
Level: M
In the Lonely Midnight
A Christmas carol bearing both mourning and hope, with a lyric written on the eve of World War I
Poet/Lyricist: Theodore Chickering Williams
  • SATB, piano
  • SATB, orchestra
Level: ME
Into the Silent Darkness
A searching mediation on facing life’s wild, primeval mysteries with fear, faith and alleluias.
Poet/Lyricist: Richard S. Gilbert
  • SATB, violin, piano
Level: MA
Immortal Love
An elegantly sculpted chorale about eternal and abiding love
Poet/Lyricist: John Greenleaf Whittier
  • SATB a cappella
Level: ME
Impermanent Things
A rhapsodic meditation on life’s beauty and transience
  • Viola, piano
  • Cello, piano
Level: MA
Infant Holy, Infant Lowly
A beloved Polish carol with two different arrangements: “Soulful Close Harmony” and “Classical Chorale”
Poet/Lyricist: Polish carol / Elizabeth Alexander
  • SSA a cappella
Level: ME
Jump!
A dramatic soundscape of jumping, falling, and flying
Poet/Lyricist: Ray Bradbury
  • SSA, narrator, piano
  • SSA, narrator, string quartet
Level: M
Jó!
A 16th century decree of tolerance, celebrated with Eastern European vitality
Poet/Lyricist: Edict of Torda / King John Sigismund III
  • Vocal trio a cappella
  • SSA a cappella
Level: M
Kindling: Small Reflections on a Limitless Faith
An ecstatic and introspective cantata on the things that inspire, challenge and nourish our religious lives
Poet/Lyricist: Elizabeth Alexander
  • SATB, piano
  • SATB, chamber ensemble
Level: MA
Let it Matter
An urgent call to deep listening across cultural and class divides
Poet/Lyricist: Elizabeth Alexander
  • SSA, piano
  • SATB, piano
Level: M
Like a Leaf
A rhapsodic setting of Wendell Berry's wise, simple words
Poet/Lyricist: Wendell Berry
  • SATB, piano
Level: M
Life is Not a Garden
An open-eyed and open-hearted view of this complicated world, acknowledging both disappointment and hope
Poet/Lyricist: Elizabeth Alexander
  • SSA, piano, opt. bass
  • SATB, piano, opt. bass
Level: M
Look To This Day!
A wholehearted embrace of the present moment based on an ancient Hindu text
Poet/Lyricist: Kalidasa
  • SATB, organ, orchestral chimes
Level: M
Love is the Spirit of this Church
A feast of old-time gospel, with a vision for our time
Poet/Lyricist: Tony Larsen & Elizabeth Alexander
  • SATB, soloists, piano
  • SATB, piano, opt. chidren’s choir
Level: M
Luminous Awakening
An bountiful and expansive setting of a Hildegard von Bingen prayer
Poet/Lyricist: Hildegard of Bingen
  • SATB a cappella
  • SSAA a cappella
Level: M
Water Sings Blue
A sparkling orchestral work capturing the fluidity and delight of water
  • Orchestra
Level: M
May This Be a Working Alleluia
A “roll up your sleeves” embrace of gratitude, work, healing and joy
Poet/Lyricist: Elizabeth Alexander
  • SATB + children’s choir, piano, opt. flute and trumpets
Level: M
My Aunt Gives Me a Clarinet Lesson
An over-the-top musical fantasy for all ages
Poet/Lyricist: Gregory Djanikian
  • High voice, flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, percussion
Level: A
Nature Creature (CD/mp3)
Songs on being alive in this beautiful, complex world
Poet/Lyricist: Lyon, Ignatow, Moore, Ammons, Erdrich, White, Hafiz / Ladinsky
  • Voice, cello, piano
Level: Various
Nature Creature (musical score)
A passionate, eclectic song cycle on the beauty and complexity of being alive
Poet/Lyricist: Lyon, Ignatow, Moore, Ammons, Erdrich, White, Hafiz / Ladinsky
  • Low voice, piano, opt. cello
Level: MA
Night at the Red Cat
A high-octane Latin jazz duet with an opportunity for improvisation
  • Piano, 4 hands
Level: M
No One Gets A Program
A bluesy, sassy take on a wise old saying
Poet/Lyricist: Dutch proverb / Elizabeth Alexander
  • Vocal duet, piano
Level: M
No Ordinary Song
A solo or congregational song for healing our wounded world
Poet/Lyricist: Elizabeth Alexander
  • Community / Congregational Song
  • Medium voice, piano
Level: ME
No Other People’s Children
A song of reconciliation affirming the belovedness of all people
Poet/Lyricist: Elizabeth Alexander
  • Flexible voicing: 1-4 pt. choir
Level: E
Oath Taking
An incisive song about reconciliation, promises and integrity
Poet/Lyricist: Opal Palmer Adisa
  • High voice, piano
Level: M
Off the Page
Nine improvisations for string players and other adventurous people
  • All Instruments
Level: Various
On the Edge of the Water
An allegory on life’s beauty, transience, and everlasting nature
Poet/Lyricist: Elizabeth Alexander
  • Low voice, piano
Level: M
One More Redeemer
A warm-hearted affirmation of the divine spark in each child
Poet/Lyricist: Rob Eller-Isaacs & Bill Neely
  • SATB a cappella
Level: ME
One More Step
A richly imagined arrangement of a visionary protest anthem
Poet/Lyricist: Joyce Poley
  • SATB, spoken voices, piano
Level: MA
Only a Couple Fishes
An animated retelling of the “loaves and fishes” story, with generosity at its core
Poet/Lyricist: Elizabeth Alexander
  • SA, piano
Level: M
Pages
A clear-eyed look at the world’s challenges, with a contemplative call to action
Poet/Lyricist: Elizabeth Alexander
  • SATB, piano
  • SATB, chamber ensemble
Level: M
Praise Wet Snow Falling Early
A meditation on darkness, transcendence and hope
Poet/Lyricist: Denise Levertov
  • SATB, piano
Level: M
Pure Light beyond Light
Ancient and modern invocations of the Holy filled with reverence, mystery and illumination
Poet/Lyricist: Mozarabic prayer, Hildegard von Bingen, Rob Eller-Isaacs
  • SATB a cappella
Level: M
Reasons for the Perpetuation of Slavery
A clear-eyed compelling look at human slavery through the ages, including the present time
Poet/Lyricist: Elizabeth Alexander
  • SSAA a cappella
Level: MA
Same Birds
A sassy frolic about deep listening, the cry of existence, and a congregation of rowdy birds
Poet/Lyricist: David Allan Evans
  • SATB a cappella
Level: MA
Shelter This Candle
An evocative work about a cave’s complete darkness – and our own dazzling light
Poet/Lyricist: Edna St. Vincent Millay
  • SATB, oboe, horn, cello, harp
Level: A
Sing Me Awake
A tender and rhapsodic meditation on our return to life after grief and loss
Poet/Lyricist: Gregory Orr
  • SATB, piano, string quartet or string orchestra
Level: MA
Sketches in Gray
Whimsical portraits of the dusky, steely, foggy, shadowy, and furry
  • Piano solo
Level: ME
Sleep Song
A parent contemplates the serenity of a sleeping child
Poet/Lyricist: Ann Silsbee
  • Low voice, piano
  • Medium voice, piano
  • High voice, piano
Level: ME
So Much Radiance
A tender parable about the wisdom and resplendence of the world’s religions
Poet/Lyricist: Elizabeth Alexander
  • SATB, piano
  • SATB, chamber ensemble
Level: MA
Song of Kabir
A luminous song of wholehearted devotion
Poet/Lyricist: Kabir
  • SATB a cappella
Level: M
Song of the Five Thousand
A canonic table grace with abundance, gratitude and generosity at its core
Poet/Lyricist: Elizabeth Alexander
  • Flexible choral voicing
  • Community / Congregational Song
Level: E
Songs of Youth
An exploration of the thrill and impatience of growing up
Poet/Lyricist: Elizabeth Alexander
  • SAB, piano, opt. vibraphone
Level: M
Spirit of Life (McDade, arr. Alexander)
A still, small instrumental arrangement of Carolyn McDade’s beloved song
  • Piano solo
Level: ME
Spring Grass
The first dance of spring: tweedle-dum and fiddle-dee-dee!
Poet/Lyricist: Carl Sandburg
  • SATB a cappella
Level: MA
Spring Revels
Three spring songs full of vitality, generosity, and love
Poet/Lyricist: Langston Hughes, e. e. cummings, Carl Sandburg
  • SATB a cappella
Level: MA
Strong Braid
A rhapsodic salute to Faith’s invaluable companions, Science and Reason
Poet/Lyricist: Elizabeth Alexander
  • SATB, piano
  • SATB, chamber ensemble
Level: MA
Sue Loves Butter
An exuberant toast to friendship, fun, and everybody’s favorite comfort food
Poet/Lyricist: Elizabeth Alexander
  • SSA, piano
Level: M
The Chalice of Our Hearts
A graceful canon about wandering, searching, finding and returning
Poet/Lyricist: Elizabeth Alexander
  • SATB, chamber ensemble
  • SATB, piano
  • Community / Congregational Song
Level: E
The Earth Called To My Friend
A memorial song which wholeheartily embraces the vitality of life
Poet/Lyricist: Nancy Wood
  • SSA, piano
Level: M
The Eternal One
A tender portrait of the divine
Poet/Lyricist: Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Low voice, piano
  • Medium voice, piano
  • High voice, piano
Level: M
The Gate is Open
A winter meditation on the Star that lies beyond all fear and hopelessness
Poet/Lyricist: Sister Peronne Marie Thibert
  • SATB a cappella
Level: M
The Gospel Isn’t Written In the Bible Alone
An expansive embrace of the sacredness of all creation
Poet/Lyricist: Elizabeth Alexander
  • Low voice, piano
  • Medium / high voice, piano
Level: M
The Meadow Doesn’t Know About the Stock Market
A sweet and wry tribute to the meadow’s timeless wisdom
Poet/Lyricist: George Ella Lyon
  • Low voice, piano
Level: M
The One-Handed Creeper
A “creepy” solo for piano left hand
  • Piano solo for left hand
Level: ME
Things That Go Bump in the Night
A humorous and courageous journey from dusk to dawn
Poet/Lyricist: Elizabeth Alexander
  • SSA, piano, opt. flute
  • SATB, piano, opt. flute
Level: M
This is What Democracy Looks Like
A rally-ready protest song licensed through Creative Commons
Poet/Lyricist: Elizabeth Alexander
  • Community / Congregational Song
Level: E
Those Who Wish To Sing Always Find a Song
The joy of “tra-la-la” — in nine languages!
Poet/Lyricist: Swedish proverb
  • SSA, oboe, piano
Level: M
They Have Freckles Everywhere
Seven affectionate portraits of our bodies’ amazing parts
Poet/Lyricist: Elizabeth Alexander
  • SSAA, piano
Level: M
Three Textures
Tiny etudes exploring texture, color and motion
  • Piano solo
Level: M
To Make a Prairie
An ethereal setting of Emily Dickinson’s timeless musing on creation and dreams
Poet/Lyricist: Emily Dickinson
  • SSA, piano
Level: M
Tomorrow, God Willing
A buoyant riff on humility, gratitude and second chances
Poet/Lyricist: Garrison Keillor
  • TTBB a cappella
Level: M
Tree Song
A simple and wise reflection on the generosity and interdependence of trees
Poet/Lyricist: George Ella Lyon
  • SSA, cello, piano
Level: M
Trouble in a Minnesota Town
A town’s wild descent into madness — and mangoes!
Poet/Lyricist: Neal Bowers
  • Low voice, piano
  • Medium voice, piano
Level: MA
Trust the Seeds
A meditation seed-planting, patience and faith
Poet/Lyricist: Elizabeth Alexander
  • SATB a cappella
  • SATB, flute, oboe, piano
  • SATB, orchestra
Level: Various
We Lift Up Our Hearts
An intergenerational song of thanksgiving appropriate for religious or secular occasions
Poet/Lyricist: Richard Fewkes
  • SATB + children’s choir, piano
Level: E
We Need Each Other
A down-to-earth celebration of our essential interdependence, well-suited for processionals or recessionals
Poet/Lyricist: Susan Gittler, adapted
  • SATB, djembe or low drum
Level: ME
We Remember Them
A tender embrace of those we have loved and lost
Poet/Lyricist: Rabbis Sylvan Kamens / Jack Riemer
  • SATB, piano
Level: M
What’s Keeping You From Singing?
A soulful reminder of music’s power to lift the heart
Poet/Lyricist: Elizabeth Alexander
  • SSA a cappella
Level: M
when faces called flowers float out of the ground
A whimsical and amorous song of spring
Poet/Lyricist: E. E. Cummings
  • SATB a cappella
Level: MA
When the Song of the Angels Is Stilled
A rhythmic and relevant best-seller about the true “work of Christmas”
Poet/Lyricist: Howard Thurman
  • SATB a cappella
  • SATB, flute
  • SSAA a cappella
  • TTBB a cappella
Level: M
Where there is Light in the Soul
A Chinese proverb connecting light, beauty, harmony, honor and peace
Poet/Lyricist: Chinese proverb
  • SAB a cappella
  • SSA a cappella
  • TBB a cappella
  • SATB a cappella
Level: ME
Why I Pity the Woman Who Never Spills
A gutsy, sensual song in praise of messy women
Poet/Lyricist: Joan Wolf Prefontaine
  • SSAA a cappella
Level: MA
Y Comienzo a Bailar (“And I Begin To Dance”)
An intimate portrait of the bittersweet experience of memory, loss, and love
Poet/Lyricist: Elizabeth Alexander / Augustin Cadena
  • SATB, piano
Level: MA
You were meant for this
A fierce and vibrant farewell to a dying friend
Poet/Lyricist: Teresa Schreiber Werth
  • SSAA a cappella
Level: MA