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Echo of Silence
Composed by Z. Randall Stroope
Instrumentation: piano and oboe
Catalog number: AMP 1100
Echo of Silence
About the poet …
Christina Rossetti (born 1830 in London) was raised into a “iterary family” of substantial achievement. Her father, Gabriele Rossetti, was a poet, as was her brother, Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Her first poems were printed when she was just 12 years old. Christina was a significant voice in Victorian English poetry and hers is filled with symbolism and intense emotion.
“Echo” is a haunting poem about a lover who has died, and the speaker pleads for their return, even if in a dream, to “speak low…as long ago.” There is only a thin (but all the same, eternal) wall between the two, and the speaker intensely yearns to recapture their past and make it a “living present.”
There are many analyses of the work, including that of the mythological nymph, named “Echo”, who was in love with Zeus. Finding this out, Zeus' wife, Hera, placed a curse on Echo so that she was only able to repeat the last few words of anything Zeus said. (Hence, the name, “Echo.”)
The title of the poem also provides insight into a poetic device with repetitions (echoes) of the text. Rather than the speaker's lover answering back, there is only the echo of the speaker's own voice.
About the composer …
Z. Randall Stroope is an American composer, conductor and university professor. His composition teachers were Normand Lockwood and Cecil Effinger, both students of Nadia Boulanger, the famous French teacher (and student of Gabriel Fauré). He is the artistic director of two European summer music festivals, has conducted music for mass at the Vatican on numerous occasions, as well as annually conducting at Carnegie Hall, Chicago Orchestra Hall, and many other U.S. and international venues. He has 180 published works and has received numerous composition awards. Recordings of his music can be heard on his web site (www.zrstroope.com), or other social media sites.
To hear an mp4 recording of Echo of Silence click here.
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