Of silence into silence

      1. listen

of silence into silence is a setting of the poem Dream by Judith Wright. The poem details a mystical search for a never-explicit salvation. In the allegorical world of the poem, this salvation takes the form of a timeless, eternal rose, “unsought.” It is the poet’s final observation of the rose that brings about the most profound insight; this salvation grows “out of silence into silence.” It is ineffable.

Throughout the poem, images appear in groups of three and this trinity manifests itself in other significant ways. Structurally and thematically I have used combinations and constructions of three to reflect this. Silence also plays a crucial role in the sound-world of the piece, allowing breathing space and resonance to feature, as a way of approaching the timeless, dream-like quality of the poem.

In the final paragraph, we are invited into the Dream, finally in the immediate present. The narration shifts and we confront the night, no longer “strange,” but as an initiate, to discover the unsought rose.  With a deeply subtle use of “almost repetition” the images of sacrifice and yearning dissipate into an eternal present.

‘of silence into silence’ was written for the ‘Judith Wright Project’ commemorating the 10 years since the poet’s passing, and was first performed by Brad Gill (Percussion) and Nicole Thompson (Soprano) on the 21st of September 2010 at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

The poem ‘Dream,’ from Collected Poems by Judith Wright is used by kind permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

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