Echo (Andrew Miller)

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CPDL #24655:  Icon_pdf.gif Icon_snd.gif Finale 2010
Editor: Andrew Millercreate page (submitted 2011-10-03).   Score information: Letter, 10 pages, 184 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes:

General Information

Title: Echo
Composer: Andrew Miller
Lyricist: Christina Rossetti

Number of voices: 4vv   Voicing: SATB

Genre: SecularPartsong

Language: English
Instruments: Synthesizer
Published: 2011

Description: Echo, one of Rosetti's most famous poems, is a first person communication from one lover to another through the afterlife by means of a dream. Common interpretations suggest that the speaker is alive and trying to communicate to their lover who has passed on, though it is up to the reader's interpretation, specifically when considering the line, "Yet come to me in dreams that I may live my very life again, though cold in death". The fact that this poem could be the voice of someone who has passed into the afterlife adds a deeply profound element of spirituality.

The synthesizer can be any electronic keyboard that is dynamically touch-sensitive, can sustain any number of pitches simultaneously, and contains 'synthetic strings' in its soundbank. For proper balance, it is ideal to plug the electronic keyboard into an amplifier or sound system.

In this piece, the synthesizer fulfils multiple musical elements that are often not present and/or difficult to achieve in many choral settings, especially middle schools and smaller high schools. Essentially, it acts as a string orchestra or a low men's section, providing young singers in smaller choral programs the opportunity to experience a close semblance of singing sustained, 6 - 8 part divisi choral music. Thus far, the piano has been the leader in keyboard accompanied choral music, however, with the sustaining, warm and blendable qualities of the synthesizer comes a fresh new way to bring choral music - especially in middle school and smaller high school settings - to a whole new level. In this piece, dissonances are almost always approached by step for accessibility, and should be enjoyed to the fullest and sung into with confidence and round vowel shapes. An echo pattern is also a common and important element, in which voice parts repeat/imitate each other on the same word or syllable. In these instances, singers should usually emphasize their entrance and immediately decrease their dynamic, to create the illusion of a true 'echo'.

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

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 brim-full 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 though 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, as long ago.