The Lily
composed 2007

premiered by
Katherine Ciesinski, mezzo
Wayne Brooks, viola
Eric Arbiter, bassoon
Richard Nunemaker, bass clarinet
Brian Thomas, french horn
Timothy Hester, piano
Mark Powell, conductor

16 minutes

Score & Parts available.

THE LILY reflects suffering the loss of a loved one and the grief and pain that comes with it. I asked my wife to compose a poem on this specific theme, with my only direction being the line “The lily smells of death.”From that small germ of an idea, she composed a beautiful yet haunting set of lines that not only fit the bill for this piece but became the cornerstone for its entire structure.

Programatically, the piece begins at a funeral, focused on the one left to grieve. Becoming less aware of her surroundings, she fixes her attention on a flower at the altar. Soon, reality is gone as she is slowly swept into a deep and dark depression, only to move on to total immersion in anger and denial.

Life is over, and with it, all happiness. It is through this suffering that the flower she has fixated on and despised is slowly seen in an emerging new light. The lily is not a reminder of death, but a symbol of God’s love.

What once reined as rage and solitude now gives way to a glimmer of hope, a chance at healing, and ultimately, comfort.

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