FOUR PIECES ON THE THEME OF SLEEP

INSTRUMENTATION

2.2.2.2 / 2.2.2.1 / timp + 1perc / strings

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Inspired by the cerebral experience of sleep, these pieces depict the various aspects of sleep; restless light sleep, ambiguous dreams, vivid dreams, and nightmares.

Movement I - Counting Sheep.


In the stillness of the night, your auditory sensation is the only companion to your ever-wandering mind. "Counting sheep" reflects this ubiquitous state. This movement opens with the chime of an old grandfather clock echoing through the darkness. The oscillation of the semi-conscious thought is represented by the intricate lilting rhythm, interrupted by the steadfast chimes. The 12 chords serve as the foundation of the musical structure upon which thematic material is introduced. An unravelling rhythm and slowing harmonic progression symbolize the subject being lulled into a state of slumber.


Movement II - Dreamscape.


Opening with an eerie buoyant descent, the subject arrives in an ambiguous dreamscape. The beginning of “Dreamscape” is established in the whole tone scale, embellished by leaps of sevenths. It develops a melodic idea to create the mysterious world. The music stabilizes as the dream world takes shape, the musical focus shifts to quartal and quintal chords. It then proceeds to develop subtle dissonances. “Dreamscape” seeks to spur the imagination of the listener with its flowing dulcet tunefulness.

Movement III - Waltzing with the Night.


A vivid dream emerges from the ambiguity of the "Dreamscape". The striking simplicity of this movement depicts a dream of love as the subject waltzes through the night with a nameless shadow. Persisting with the waltz in the lower voices, the romance is quickly distorted by the interruption of a dark force.


Movement VI - Terreurs de la Nuit.


A lovely dream quickly turns into a feverish nightmare with the polytonal "Terreurs de la Nuit". The re-introduction of D-flat major tonality from the earlier movements is layered over the continuation of c minor tonality from “Waltzing with the Night”. The movement is meant to feel destabilizing and stressful. The return of the clock chime indicates the passing of time and the fast approach of morning. The thickening polyphonic texture builds to the climax of the nightmare, abruptly pulling the subject into consciousness, heart still racing.