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So Much Radiance

A tender parable about the richness of the world's religions
Commissioned by First Unitarian Universalist Church of Houston
Elizabeth Alexander

As this musical allegory unfolds, the world's religions are discovered one by one, with the musical textures growing more resplendant with each new discovery. The final pages are a glorious feast of light – a dazzlement brought about not by knowledge, but by wonder.

The central movement of Kindling: Small Reflections on a Limitless Faith, So Much Radiance may be performed as a stand-alone piece.

* Note: The Choral Score is designed to be used with chamber ensemble performances as well as those accompanied only by piano. For all chamber ensemble performances, the conductor should use the Conductor's Score of the complete work (SEA-123-00).

So Much Radiance

Elizabeth Alexander

Once we set forth in the dark empty hours of the night,
In search of a Presence wondrous and unseen,
Guided only by a voice still and small.

Our outstretched hands soon encountered
The brass and grain of Cross and Menorah,
And our fingers traced their contours with reverence and joy.

Only now, as the rising sun illuminates
Wheel and Lotus, Yin and Yang, Star and Crescent, Eagle and Drum,
We begin to behold the Limitless:
So much Radiance within our reach – even more beyond.

Composer's Note: 

"The modest aspiration of this song was to honor all of the religions in the universe. In under 5 minutes. What’s a composer to do!!?? One thing I did was to use all the major chords of all 12 keys – often using more than one at a time!" -EA


SATB, flute, horn, string quartet:
Choir of First Unitarian Universalist Church of Houston / Jason Oby (Houston, TX) * Premiere
Choir of Arlington Street Church / Mark Buckles (Boston, MA)
Choir of Unitarian Universalist Church of Atlanta / Donald Milton III (Atlanta, GA)

SATB, piano:
Choir of First Unitarian Universalist Church of Rochester, MN / Joseph Mish

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