Echo and the Rush (2007) is a piece for flute solo and voice written by Julie Groves in response to poet Andy Spragg’s work of the same name. It was premiered in Guildford’s Boilerroom 2007, Norwich’s Workshop in 2008 and London’s Poetry Café in 2010.
“An idea devised by Between Soundings in 2007: One poem was produced and a written copy and a spoken word performance were then passed onto three musicians of very different backgrounds (one of them being Julie Groves). Each went onto compose a piece of music based around the poem. At the end of this process the three pieces were performed in one evening, alongside the original poem. Musicians were free to utilise whatever they felt like, whether it was other performers, aspects of the original recording of the poem or anything else they felt appropriate for their performance. The only condition was that the three musicians did not discuss their work with one another before their final performances. The project demonstrated the diversity of creative response to a stimulus, whilst allowing the audience to witness how personality affects our reading and understanding of art.
“Echo and the Rush” is fundamentally about the conflict between an experience of emotional intensity and the desire to record it faithfully. It opens with a repetitious mantra; the notion of beginning is stretched to the point of exhaustion. As the poem progresses allusions are made to the ‘echo’, as well as the ‘rush’ however it is only in the late quarter of the poem that the concepts are pinned down. They operate as mythical figures, the ‘rush’ being the moment and the ‘echo’ being our wish to convey said moment. The language is elliptical; rhythm and structure fragmented as the reader is drawn into a labyrinth of phonetic motifs and scattered imagery. The realisation comes in the final pages that the ‘rush’ will remain forever elusive, that the poem has effectively become it’s own echo. As the poem completes it’s cycle and returns to it’s first lines there is a sense of both defeat and celebration- that while we are no closer to relaying the ‘rush’ we have at least found the name for these things that elude us.”
Copyright Julie Groves and Andrew Spragg 2007
ECHO AND THE RUSH is available as sheet music for performance if requested. Please use the contact page.
Between Soundings is a creative partnership between Andy Spragg (poet) and Julie Groves (flautist). Through a combined interest in the arts they have worked to produce a series of new and exploratory performance pieces that reflect the links between musical expression and the spoken word. Concepts of folklore and narrative tradition become lines of enquiry, starting points for a spectral mapping out of creative space and practice. Works such as Echo & the Rush have served to call into focus the tension between experience and response by working an intimate self-mythology into being. At its heart, Between Soundings is a compelling demonstration of the possibilities shared creative practice has to offer.
One writer provided these three diverse and talented musicians with a poem. Working separately from one another, each of them utilised aspects of the writing to influence their own compositions. The finished products are fresh takes on the grand tradition of cross-discipline collaborations.