The Music of Elizabeth Alexander

Blessed Be the Flower That Triumphs

A rich meditation on tenacity, resilience, and rebirth

Words by Michael DeVernon Boblett

This warm, richly contrapuntal meditation on resilience and rebirth contemplates the perseverant spirit of a small, humble flower. Both majestic and intimate, Blessed Be the Flower That Triumphs celebrates the boundless spirit of life that endures despite all adversity, oppression, and even death.

Notes about the orchestral version: The orchestral version of this song includes several passages that are purely instrumental, but the choral parts themselves are identical to those in the a cappella version. Choirs wishing to perform both versions of this song may simply purchase and use the orchestral version’s choral part. Orchestral Instrumentation: SATB, chamber orchestra (0000,0400,harp,strings)

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Composer Notes

Composer Notes

Requiems are essentially about what it means for beauty and meaning to triumph over anyone and anything that might destroy faith, hope or life itself So it’s no wonder that when Minneapolis’ Bethlehem Lutheran Church commissioned a choral work to follow and compliment Gabriel Fauré’s celebrated Requiem, I did not focus my thinking on death. Instead, I found myself contemplating the true nature of resurrection.

I found a gracious expression to my questions in Michael de Vernon Boblett’s gracious poem, “Blessed Be the Flower That Triumphs.” Is Bobletts’s tenacious flower a man or a Messiah, a scientific idea or a religious belief, a tiny flower or the voice of truth?

Text

Blessed Be the Flower That Triumphs

Blessed be the flower that triumphs
Over snows, over thorns, over withered stems,
Over windswept mountains, over deserts cruel and dry.
Blessed be the flower that triumphs.

Blessed be the flower that triumphs
Over wars, over change, over centuries,
Over barbed wire fences, over soldiers’ heavy feet.
Blessed be the flower that triumphs.

Blessed be the flower that triumphs
Over well-meaning hands bent on gathering.
Over small closed rooms, with their vases hard and cold.
Blessed be the flower that triumphs.

Blessed be the flower that triumphs
Over vain words of priests and of poets’ pens
And attempts to domesticate its wild, wild Truth.
Blessed be the flower that triumphs.

Blessed be the flower that triumphs
Over past, over death, over silences,
Enduring beyond iron and tears and severed roots,
And restoring to all things a joyful smallness.
Blessed be the flower that triumphs at last.

Poem by Michael deVernon Boblett
Adapted by Elizabeth Alexander

© 2007 by Michael DeVernon Boblett

Performers

Performers

SATB a cappella
Premiere: Murray State University Concert Choir / Bradley Almquist. Athena Music Festival (Murray, KY)
Choir of Arlington Street Church / Mark Buckles (Boston, MA)
Choir of First Unitarian Society of Madison / Dan Broner (Madison, WI)
Choir of First Unitarian Universalist Church of Houston / Jason Oby (Houston, TX)

SATB, orchestra
Premiere: Bethlehem Lutheran Choir and Orchestra / David Mennicke (Minneapolis, MN)
Concordia University Choir / David Mennicke (St. Paul, MN)
New Hampshire Master Chorale / Dan Perkins (Concord, NH)