Echo is a beautifully austere and evocative setting of Christina Rossetti's words. Its simple and accessible vocal line is contrasted by a more restless accompaniment offering music of great clarity and atmosphere. The slow moving and adventurous chordal harmonies help to create a bleak and static effect producing a song of powerful intensity and depth.
Ian Assersohn is an award-winning composer, choral director and teacher, living and working in Surrey and studied piano and composition at the Royal College of Music (London) and the Koninklijk Conservatorium in Den Haag. As a composer he specilaises in works for voice and for choir and his longer works for choir include the cantata 'The Song of Songs' and a set of sea shanty arrangements called 'A Drop O' Nelson's Blood'. His children's musical 'Lancelot Wins Again' has received several productions.
With his wife, Jan, Ian has written educational piano music and he is the author of the popular book 'First Time Bars - a choral singer's handbook' and 'Sight-singing with the Simplified Music Notation'. He is the musical director of Leatherhead Choral Society and Concordia Singers in Crawley and is closely involved in the running of the annual Leith Hill Musical Festival in Dorking.
The composer writes: 'This song was written in the same year that my mother died: which may go some way to explain why I was drawn to the text at that time. The poem is about longing and loss, and the setting, though fairly austere, sets up a rather feverish, intense atmosphere. There are also in the accompaniment some deliberate echoes of a Chopin waltz, music which I have always associated, for some reason, with feelings of dreaming and nostalgia.'