When lilacs last in the dooryard bloom’d

When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d (2006) is based on the elegy written by Walt Whitman upon the assassination of President Lincoln in 1865. In an earlier life, it was a piano piece, Lilacs, which imagined the poem’s rhythms and cadences as a purely musical narrative. This version puts the words back in. The 88 keys and crunching dissonances of the piano are compressed into a dense eight-part choral texture.

When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d was commissioned through The Laidlaw Foundation by Soundstreams (Lawrence Cherney, Artistic Director) for the occasion of University Voices 2006.