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Music by: Andrew Thomas

Copyright © 1990

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Notes for the Program

Echo, a garrulous young girl, was employed by Jove to keep his wife Juno engaged in conversation while he made love on the mountainsides to young girls. Juno, discovering this deceit, cut Echo's speech, limiting her to parroting the last few sounds of words she hears. Narcissus, a beautiful child of Liriope, inspires love in all that behold him but is unable to return that love, being oblivious of the world beyond himself. The blind prophet Tiresias predicts that Narcissus will live to old age only if he never comes to know himself. Echo, seeing Narcissus strolling in a forest glen, falls madly in love with the young boy and pursues him passionately. They dance together in the woods, and Echo, unable to speak independently, can only mirror his growing alarm over her desperate advances. They fall apart as the dance grows ever more savage and violent. Saddened and grieving, Echo predicts an unhappy end for Narcissus, trapped in the armor of his self-love. Narcissus, overcome with fatigue, is dallying by the Pool of Nemesis. As he looks, charmed, into the bright waters, Nemesis, who has heard Echo's prediction, weaves an alluring reflection of Narcissus in the waters which amazes and enraptures the young boy. Captured, he is unable to leave his silvery and illusive image, and, half mad with love, drained by unrequited fires, he starves to death by the waterside. Echo, pitying Narcissus, can only repeat his dying sounds as she herself fades away into a shadowy presence, heard fleetingly in the sunlit dells and distant mountain peaks.

The fourth movement of this work is composed in loving memory of Hans Wagner, 1956-1989, and the fifth in loving memory of Michael Thompson, 1938-1989.

Premiered: 1990 The Juilliard School, Harvey Burgett, organ