photo by Dina Bova


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for orchestra
duration: 15'
first performance: not yet premiered
availability: rental  |  perusal score
recording: non-commercial
detailed orchestration: 2(I=picc).2(II=cor A).2(II=bcl).2 – – timp – 2 perc: mar/glock/4 tom/SD/susp.cym; vib/xyl/BD/tam/timb/conga/bongos/SD/susp.cym – hp – pf – str


From a musical perspective, I am deeply inspired by some of the mid to late twentieth century aleatoric composers – chiefly among them Witold Lutoslawski – whose sound world in pieces like Livre pour Orchestre, the Three Postludes, and Les Espaces du Sommeil made an enormous impact upon me when I was younger. Something in their abstract, yet beautiful harmonic conception, and their sensuous orchestral textures, seemed to suggest the highly imaginative, chaotic, and emotionally charged world of dreams.

I have always been fascinated by the idea of surrealism in art — the state of dreaming being something that I both enjoy and largely look forward to on a nightly basis. Much in the same way that dreams often intertwine the ordinary and mundane with the absurdly fantastic, the four short movements comprising Strange Dreams each strive to meld and frame abstract musical elements within more traditional musical contexts. For example, the “blurred and texturized” melodic lines in Synchromesh are contained within an overall, driving rhythmic accompaniment. In Chiaroscuro, fast, bright chromatic gestures in the winds and percussion are pitted against a dark, slowly shifting harmonic backdrop of strings. Underneath and among its dissonant, contrapuntal string and woodwind episodes, Rude Awakening reveals a slowly unfolding tune in the low strings, tuba and winds, before eventually coalescing into loud, slightly obnoxious and rhythmically vigorous mayhem. The final movement, Hypnogogia, looks back to Chiaroscuro with its soft, colorful murmurings, only this time, within a somewhat more direct harmonic context.