Rise Up, Emma Lazarus

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SSSAAA a cappella
Sacred and secular texts in English by Emma Lazarus
Duration: six minutes
Difficulty rating (1-5): 4

Winner of the 2003 New York Treble Singers Composition Competition
Premiered March 14, 2003 by The New York Treble Singers, New York City, directed by Virginia Davidson.
 

 

I. The New Ezekiel
II. The New Colossus

I wrote this piece specifically for the New York Treble Singers 2003 composition competition, for which it won first prize. Since this is a very professional twelve-voice group, I purposely wrote six-part, fairly complex music. The first movement is very energetic and reminds me of some of Randall Thompson’s music. The second movement uses Lazarus’ famous text which is inscribed on the base of the Statue of Liberty. I was fortunate to meet Gregg Smith at the New York premiere of the piece. He has been a wonderful supporter since then.

Complete perusal score available upon request.
 
 

TEXT

The New Ezekiel
What, can these dead bones live, whose sap is dried
By twenty scorching centuries of wrong?
Is this the House of Israel, whose pride
Is as a tale that’s told, an ancient song?
Are these ignoble relics all that live
Of psalmist, priest, and prophet?
Can the breath of very heaven bid these bones revive,
Open the graves and clothe the ribs of death?
Yea, prophesy, the Lord hath said.
Again say top the wind, come forth and breathe afresh,
Even that they may live upon these slain,
And bone to bone shall leap, and flesh to flesh.
The Spirit is not dead, proclaim the word,
Where lay dead bones, a host of armed men stand!
I ope your graves, my people, saith the Lord,
And I shall place you living in your land.
 
The New Colossus
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame,
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips, “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
 
 

 



 
 

  

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