Notes: Composed in 2001, An End is the first number in the trilogy of Christina Rossetti pieces that I have called For A Dream's Sake. An End, like its companion works, Mirage and Echo, deals with loss, a subject that Rossetti had a life-long attachment to. The idealized love who appears so often in her poetry, although fondly remembered (most of the time), generally dies or disappears at the most inopportune times. Rossetti's outlook on life, as evidenced by her bittersweet words, could be summarized in a nutshell as decidedly "glass half-empty". Nonetheless, her poems ring with authenticity, vehemence, and tenderness. So, if you are like me and love this kind of stuff, go ahead and take this piece on, but be warned! - An End is a difficult piece for women's choir. You will need some good sopranos to get this piece to work, as the line is sometimes both high and soft. Concerto Della Donna has performed this piece a number of times (listen to their beautiful recording to the right) and it has also been sung by the Manitou Singers of St. Olaf College, Sigrid Johnson, conductor and other top-notch women's choirs.
Love, strong as Death, is dead. Come, let us make his bed Among the dying flowers: A green turf at his head; And a stone at his feet, Whereon we may sit In the quiet evening hours.
He was born in the Spring, And died before the harvesting: On the last warm summer day He left us; he would not stay For Autumn twilight cold and grey. Sit we by his grave, and sing He is gone away.
To few chords and sad and low Sing we so: Be our eyes fixed on the grass Shadow-veiled as the years pass, While we think of all that was In the long ago.
Performed by: Concerto Della Donna, Iwan Edwards, conductor (2011) from Allan Bevan: Parlez-Moi.
Christina Rossetti in the portrait painted by her brother Dante Gabriel Rossetti