This morning, the Independence Day holiday in the United States, was quiet, serene, and full of life. As I walked through the garden soon after dawn, there was no noise from traffic, no conversations trailing from the homes of neighbors. Angel and I moved through the flowers, listening to bird song and witnessing the flight of butterflies and bees. Such an oasis of quiet in an otherwise noisy holiday punctuated by fireworks and noisemakers. I noted the rich beautiful blossoms of daylily (Hemerocallis) ‘American Revolution’ – striking in its dark color and defined form still dotted with  morning dew.


Daylily ‘Tiger Eye Spider’ looked like a silent explosion of color, a floral fireworks fitting to the day.


In a few weeks, we will submit the final mixes of my CD Watershed for duplication, with a scheduled fall release. While listening to Bill editing the music today, it felt right to share a preview of the third movement of one of the pieces on the CD, Sketches of America. In a time of tumult in our country, I am reminded of the main theme of this piece, the melody of “America the Beautiful” and how I love the beauty of this country and its highest ideals.

Sketches of America was inspired by my travels through the American landscape as well as an exploration of uniquely American musical forms, specifically minimalism and the blues. The orchestral piece has three main sections and features solo trumpet and trombone in various ways.  The final section is a chorale adapted from a solo song that I wrote entitled Clay. Struggling to create a new garden on solid clay soil, I responded by writing an ode to clay, exploring its dual nature and potential symbolism for life.

Clay, so full of life to be released
through fork and spade and shredded leaf,
the solid ground beneath our feet,

Trumpeter Sean Jones and trombonist Ed Kocher soar in a beautiful and poignant manner in this section. The hymn like song Clay seemed a fitting end for “Sketches of America,” the solid ground beneath our feet and a reminder of the melody of America the Beautiful. I dedicated this piece to my father, whose birthday was on the 4th of July. Enjoy.

Special thanks to Bill Purse, sound engineer and producer extraordinaire, and Jim Cunningham of WQED-FM for sharing the live concert recording of Sketches of America as broadcast on WQED-FM.

All music, text, and images ©2019 Lynn Emberg Purse, All Rights Reserved

Floral Fireworks

The temple bell stops but I still hear the sound coming out of the flowers. ~Basho

My father was born on the 4th of July, so we always had a double reason to celebrate the holiday. And did we ever! As a family of musicians, we transformed our neighborhood block party into a morning parade, recruiting my father’s band students and anyone in the neighbor who could play The Stars and Stripes Forever while marching. The rest of the day was an ongoing musical feast in the form of continuous jam sessions, the repertoire ranging from jazz standards to German polka band arrangements. Sometimes there were local fireworks at night but more often, we lit sparkler wands and drew pictures in the night air to a backdrop of fireflies (locally known as lightening bugs) who ignored our fiery antics.

Now my 4th of July is usually spent enjoying the floral fireworks in the garden. Daylilies of all shapes, colors, and sizes are the feature, surrounded by true lilies, salvias, roses, flowering shrubs and clematis. 4th of July fireworks indeed!  Enjoy the images (click on any photo to trigger the gallery slideshow) and have a happy and safe holiday. (All images ©2014 Lynn Emberg Purse, All Rights Reserved)

 If you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for a moment. ~Georgia O’Keeffe

For my followers, I’ve wrapped up a demanding and complicated few months and am happy to return to blogging, gardening and composing. I look forward to visiting your sites and seeing what is new with you 🙂