A dream

Instrumentation: voice, piano.

Argenta Walther, soprano, Joshua Foy, piano

Performances

Two-Headed Beast / Inner Beast, April 20, 2010
Argenta Walther, soprano, Joshua Foy, piano
Wild Beast, CalArts
Valencia, CA

Mark Winston: Voice Recital, August 9, 2008
Mark Winston, baritone, Roger Moseley, piano
Montgomery Place Recital Hall
Chicago, IL

Program Notes

Originally composed for Mark Andrew Winston (baritone).

Breaking away from the traditional roles of melody and accompaniment, the voice and piano in A Dream have equally illustrative functions that convey two separate senses of “place.” The first is a highly active, physical location within a dream. Birds are represented in the piano, whose descending range symbolizes their ominous and increasingly critical situation, and the voice’s high G-flat on “love” of the phrase, “So farewell life and love…,” symbolizes distress at its peak. At this point, the focus shifts from physical place to internal contemplation. Although the text continues to describe specific images, both voices assume static and repetitive characters, continuously traversing the speaker’s thoughts until they are interrupted by the distracting, “piteous bleat of lambs and sheep.”

A Dream (text by Christina Rossetti)

Once in a dream (for once I dreamed of you)
We stood together in an open field;
Above our heads two swift-winged pigeons wheeled,
Sporting at ease and courting full in view.
When loftier still a broadening darkness flew,
Down-swooping, and a ravenous hawk revealed;
Too weak to fight, too fond to fly, they yield;
So farewell life and love and pleasures new.
Then as their plumes fell fluttering to the ground,
Their snow-white plumage flecked with crimson drops,
I wept, and thought I turned towards you to weep:
But you were gone; while rustling hedgerow tops
Bent in a wind which bore to me a sound
Of far-off piteous bleat of lambs and sheep.