For voices (SSAATTBB)
Composed for VOCES8
First performance by VOCES8 Scholars
at St. Bride's Church, October 13, 2022
Winner of the JAM President's Commission
Text: Echo by Christina Rosetti
Duration: 7 minutes
Echo is a setting of Christina Rosetti's poem of the same title. Set for eight voices, the music explores the deep sense of desire and longing in the poem. The three stanzas are set as individual verses; each with sensitivity to the tonal shifts throughout the poem. The intimate third verse allows the voice of the persona to speak sincerely through the solo voices of two sopranos, accompanied by hushed mourning in the lower voices.
Come to me in the silence of the night;
Come in the speaking silence of a dream;
Come with soft rounded cheeks and eyes as bright
As sunlight on a stream;
Come back in tears,
O memory, hope, love of finished years.
Oh dream how sweet, too sweet, too bitter sweet,
Whose wakening should have been in Paradise,
Where souls brimfull of love abide and meet;
Where thirsting longing eyes
Watch the slow door
That opening, letting in, lets out no more.
Yet come to me in dreams, that I may live
My very life again tho’ cold in death:
Come back to me in dreams, that I may give
Pulse for pulse, breath for breath:
Speak low, lean low,
As long ago, my love, how long ago.