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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.
about the work
"Composed in celebration of a storied career on behalf of Susan Ihnen, the accompanist at Valley High School (West Des Moines, IA) for twenty-five years. This skilled young composer has managed to write music that is so sublime that it transcends its intended first use and becomes universal. The Christina Rossetti text beautifully personifies the concept of memory, sometimes coming back to you in dreams. Gilded with a sonorous piano accompaniment, this is a piece that will be deeply appreciated by any students of music, whether they be advanced high school singers or a group of professionals."
Here is the description found in the score:
“Echo” was written in celebration of a storied career on behalf of Susan Ihnen. Susan was the accompanist at Valley High School (West Des Moines, IA) for 25 years. She came to be known as a symbol of vocal music education in central Iowa as she dutifully served the choirs at the secondary level with grace and poise. Student’s often spoke of her mothering compassion and her ability to make the choir room a place of kindness, warmth, and light in an otherwise trepidatious and confusing four years of high school. “Echo” is one of Susan’s favorite poems. The work seeks to capture the essence of the human memory. We often use memory to evoke a feeling and to be transported to a bygone time in our lives. Our ability to remember is that which keeps us human. Ever present, it reminds us of who we are at our very core. May you use this piece to distinguish that which is sacred in our lives; love, human presence, and one’s own experience.”