Return to Orchestral Works
Return to Works

Earth Echoes (2012)

For solo mezzo-soprano, solo baritone and chamber orchestra
(or perform as a double concerto by replacing the two voices with Trumpet and Trombone; Alto Saxophone and Tenor Saxophone; Clarinet and Bassoon; English Horn and Bassoon; or Alto Flute and Tenor Saxophone.)
Texts by many poets

solo mezzo-soprano, solo baritone and 2(picc)2(EH)2(bcl)2(Cbsn)/2210/2 percussion/harp/strings
First performance by Sasha Cooke, solo mezzo-soprano; Nathan Gunn, solo Baritone; and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra; Carnegie Hall, New York, 11 October 2012
Duration: 30 minutes

MOVEMENT #4: petal waterfall can be performed as a stand-alone piece: duration: 5’20”



MOVEMENT #4: petal waterfall


Written across 1,285 years (701 - 1983) representing 10 countries, the texts are by these poets:

Khalil Gibran (1883 - 1931) ARABIA
Amy Lowell (1874 - 12 May 1925) USA
Sri Aurobindo (Bengali: Sri Ôrobindo) (1872 - 1950) INDIA
Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi (30 September 1207 - 1273) PERSIA
Friedrich Nietzsche (1844 - 1900) GERMANY
William Wordsworth (1770 - 850) UK
Gérard de Nerval (1808 - 1855) FRANCE
Wang Wei (701 - 761) CHINA
Emily Elizabeth Dickinson (1830 - 1886) USA
Uvavnuk an Inuit (Netsilik or Iglooik Eskimo) female shaman, 19th century CANADA
Matsuo Basho (1644 - 1694) JAPAN
Li Po (China, 701 - 762) CHINA
Thomas Lanier "Tennessee" Williams III (1911 - 1983) USA
Li Shang-Yin (ca. 813 - 858) CHINA


Orpheus Chamber Orchestra

MOVEMENT #1: flower of our heart

The soul unfolds itself like a lotus of countless petals.
Khalil Gibran

Life is a stream
On which we strew
Petal by petal the flower of our heart;
And the stream as it flows
Sweeps them away,
Each one gone
Ever beyond into infinite ways.
We alone stay
While years hurry on,
The flower fared forth, though its fragrance still stays.

— Amy Lowell


MOVEMENT #2: dancing flowers

There is a Wisdom like a brooding Sun,
A Bliss in the heart's crypt grown fiery white,
The heart of a world in which all hearts are one.

— Sri Aurobindo


Open the window in the center of your heart
and let the spirits fly in and out.

— Rumi


all joy
seeks eternity—,
—seeks deep, deep eternity!

— Friedrich Nietzsche


Mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke

Also sprach Zarathustra: the "Midnight Song"
(used by Maher in the fourth movement of SYMPHONY #3)

A host, of golden daffodils;
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze
Continuous as the stars that shine
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

— William Wordsworth


Every flower is a soul blossoming

— Gerard de Nerval


MOVEMENT #3: earth blossoms

The dear earth everywhere
Blossoms in spring and grows green again!
Everywhere and eternally the distance shines bright
And blue!
Eternally.... eternally.....

— Wang Wei/ Mahler
(used by Mahler in DAS LIED VON DER ERDE)


Of their peculiar light
I keep one ray
To clarify the Sight
To seek them by —

— Emily Dickinson


Earth and her strong winds
move me, take me away,
and my soul is swept up in joy.

— Uvavnuk (Iglulik Eskimo, 19th c.)


MOVEMENT #4: petal waterfall

pitter patter
petals of tiny flowers drop
a waterfall of sound

— Basho


How many years since these valley flowers bloomed
To smile in the sun?
Whoever looks on this,
Loses himself in eternity.

— Li Po (China, 701-762)


butterflies and birds
restlessly they rise up
a cloud of flowers

— Basho


Carnegie Hall

Oh! To be a flower
Nodding in the sun,
Bending, then upspringing
As the breezes run;
Holding up
A scent-brimmed cup,
Full of summer's fragrance to the summer sun.

Oh! To be a butterfly
Still, upon a flower,
Winking with its painted wings,
Happy in the hour.
Blossoms hold
Mines of gold
Deep within the farthest heart of each chaliced flower.

— Amy Lowell


MOVEMENT #5: mountain with violets

The birds have vanished down the sky.
Now the last cloud drains away.
We sit together, the mountain and me,
until only the mountain remains.

— Li Po


The violets in the mountains have broken the rocks.

— Tennessee Williams


MOVEMENT #6: earth echoes

We hear all past and future in one stroke of the temple bell.

— Li Shang-Yin


The temple bell stops
but the sound keeps coming
out of the flowers

— Basho

To obtain examination or performance material for any of
Augusta Read Thomas's works, please contact G. Schirmer Inc..