About this work:
Joelle Wallach's cycle of eight songs, Daughters of Silence, covers a broad range of subjects dealing with experiences specific to women. Except for the song based on a real classified ad (which had only a box number), each song is based on a poem by one of five living American women poets, Teresa Anderson, Inzer Byers, Susan Donnelly, Laura Kashiske and Madeline Tiger.
The first song of the group, "Daughters of Silence" speaks of the spiritual maiming of women through learned self-effacement. "Woman Kills Sweetheart With Bowling Ball," the second song in the group, deals with the emotion forbidden to women - rage.
The painful rather than romantic experience of women on the American Frontier is the subject of the third song, "Oregon Trail Journal." The resentment and longing of the fourth song, "When I Couldn't Afford Poetry" are a product of a similar servitude in our own time.
"Epistolary" is a setting of a real personal classified advertisement from The New York Review of Books. It is wistful yet a little brash and funny as well. Like the phenomenon of personal ads, it is of our own time but recalls a Romantic ideal.
The alternately sad and agitated sixth song, "Rape", evokes the pervasive alternation of sorrow and violation that rape can impart to all other seemingly unrelated experiences of a woman's life.
"Hymn from the House of Trouble," profiles the anguish and regret with which a woman leaves a destructive man.
And the very last song, "Kneading Bread" examines a cross-cultural activity of women almost everywhere and implies the commonality of their larger experience and the tender inclusion of men and boys in their lives.