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Only from Blood Does Freedom Grow

Based on one of only several poems written by my mother, Jewish Holocaust survivor Rita Hoffman of blessed memory (1927–2018), Only from Blood Does Freedom Grow echoes the words of Hatikvah (The Hope), the national anthem of Israel. I have to believe that she wrote this poem around 1948 because of how it is worded.


I of course knew the source of inspiration for this poem when I reread it not long ago—something I had not done since the 1990s—but its having been inspired by Hatikvah was really driven home to me by a Facebook comment. That comment inspired me to compose a piece in which the opening and closing sections are based on the opening melody of Hatikvah, but in which the middle section is newly composed.


“Israel was not created in order to disappear - Israel will endure and flourish. It is the child of hope and the home of the brave. It can neither be broken by adversity nor demoralized by success. It carries the shield of democracy, and it honors the sword of freedom.”

—John F. Kennedy


My mother’s brief memoirs are housed at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC.  https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn502129


The sheet music is available from me and from Sheet Music Plus.

—Stanley M. Hoffman, 25 June 2024


Only from Blood Does Freedom Grow

 

For so many years a voice sounded in Jewish hearts saying,

“We want to have a home, we want to have a life again.”

Enough blood has already streamed through rivers,

the blood shed by our brothers *[and sisters],

they, who for freedom of strangers and nation died.

 

Now, the dream we dreamt for a long time has been awakened in us.

We want to fight for our state, our country.

The moment that we have been waiting for and been praying for

two thousand years has brought us a spark of hope.

 

We must not despair, for we are nevertheless Jews.

We must and must want to persevere.

 

A time will come which itself will become a symbol of our tragedy,

and which will remain forever in our hearts -

a burning flame, and a joyful feast.  

 

—Rita Hoffman (1927–2018)

 

 

Instrumentation

 

 

2 Flutes (2 Piccolos)

2 Oboes

2 Clarinets in Bb

2 Bassoons

 

4 Horns in F

2 Trumpets in Bb

2 Trombones

Tuba

 

Tam-tam

Timpani

 

Strings

 

 

Duration

ca. 2:30

 

The sheet music is available from the composer, and from Sheet Music Plus.


Scrolling Piano/Choral Score: https://youtu.be/a_DOl1PR-EY

Scrolling Full Score: https://youtu.be/IxzGzN1qyzE



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