Echo's Histories | TTBB Chorus a cappella | 4'
Echo's Stories | SSAA Chorus a cappella | 4'
History's Stories | SSAATTBB Chorus a cappella | 5'
History's Stories is a musical puzzle. The first piece (Echo's History's for TTBB chorus) and the second piece (Echo's Stories for SSAA chorus) combine to make up a third SSAATTBB work (History's Stories), which layers the two previous pieces together without changing a note.
Contemporary poet Diane Thiel's text for History's Stories describes the myth of Narcissus and Echo and can be read three ways. Reading just the last word of every line forms a poem ("art allows chance turns..."); the poem can be read as it is on the page; or it can be read with this last word of every line—which "echoes" part of the preceding word—omitted. These three interpretations inspired the three different movements of History's Stories.
The three movements can be performed together as a cycle, or any of the movements (TTBB, SSAA, or SSAATTBB) can be programmed as a stand-alone piece. History's Stories was commissioned by Flower Mound High School, Mark Rohwer, director, and premiered by the FMHS Jaguar Chorale with the FMHS Men's Chamber Choir.
For her song and flight, Echo is torn apart, art
flung limb by singing limb. Each valley swallows, allows
her voice. In another tale, a flame enchants chance
encounters – Narcissus, who never returns, turns –
her love to stone. Rocks, caves, dens, the hollow hollow
of bones become her home – the old echoes, O's
that round our inner lives like the concentric trick
rings inside trees, reverberate for years, our ears –
Our voices rise and leave, traveling, raveling, veiling
currents across the sea, longing to reach each
Atlantis, locate shapes that sounds recall – call
back the world, as it was first encountered, heard.