Franciscus de Neve – Landscape With Narcissus and Echo. Etching on laid paper. (ca. 1660)

For bass flute, oboe, clarinet / bass clarinet, violin, viola, cello and percussion. 11’20”. 2018.

Performed April 19th, 2018. Roulette. New York.

Purchase Score / Parts

From Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Book III (Trans. AS Kline)

…his tears stirred the water, and the image became obscured in the rippling pool. As he saw it vanishing, he cried out … While he weeps, he tears at the top of his clothes: then strikes his naked chest with hands of marble…  As he sees all this reflected in the dissolving waves, he can bear it no longer, but as yellow wax melts in a light flame, as morning frost thaws in the sun, so he is weakened and melted by love, and worn away little by little by the hidden fire. He no longer retains his color, the white mingled with red, no longer has life and strength, and that form so pleasing to look at, nor has he that body which Echo loved. Still, when she saw this, though angered and remembering, she pitied him, and as often as the poor boy said ‘Alas!’ she repeated with her echoing voice ‘Alas!’ and when his hands strike at his shoulders, she returns the same sounds of pain. His last words as he looked into the familiar pool were ‘Alas, in vain, beloved boy!’ and the place echoed every word, and when he said ‘Goodbye!’ Echo also said ‘Goodbye!

He laid down his weary head in the green grass, death closing those eyes that had marveled at their lord’s beauty. And even when he had been received into the house of shadows, he gazed into the Stygian waters. His sisters the Naiads lamented, and let down their hair for their brother, and the Dryads lamented. Echo returned their laments. And now they were preparing the funeral pyre, the quivering torches and the bier, but there was no body. They came upon a flower, instead of his body, with white petals surrounding a yellow heart.