The Music of Elizabeth Alexander

Blessed Be the Flower That Triumphs

A rich meditation on tenacity, resilience, and rebirth

Music: Elizabeth Alexander

Words: Michael DeVernon Boblett

A warm, richly contrapuntal meditation on resilience, tenacity, and rebirth. 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.

NOTE: “Blessed Be the Flower that Triumphs” exists in two versions, one for SATB chorus a cappella (SEA-078-00) and one for SATB chorus with a small chamber orchestra consisting of 2 horns, harp and strings (SEA-078-01). While the orchestral version includes additional instrumental material, the choral parts themselves are identical in both versions. Choirs wishing to have the opportunity to perform both versions may wish to purchase and sing from the orchestral version’s choral part (SEA-078-03). Instrumental Parts are available through Seafarer Press. (See below)

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Composer Notes

Composer Notes

When I was asked to compose this “companion piece” for a concert featuring the Fauré Requiem, I felt both excited and intimidated. What more could my music say about death, loss and transcendence than was already conveyed by that timeless choral masterwork?

As I mulled this question over in my mind I kept coming back to the same word: Resurrection. What a big and weighty word! And what exactly did it mean?

I found a surprisingly small and simple answer in Michael de Vernon Boblett’s poem “Blessed Be the Flower that Triumphs at Last.” Resurrection is what happens when a patient flower faithfully returns despite the ravages of wind and drought, pride and avarice, brutality and war. It is what happens when love and hope refuse to be snuffed out even by death itself, blessing the living with their eternal legacy.

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)