Suitable for lighter Classical or for Pops
concerts. Duration, 12 minutes, 45 seconds. See orchestration.
See printable documents. See performances.
About Night Visions
Night Visions is
a four-movement work about dreams. The
composition starts with a woodwind chorale which represents a standard
bedtime prayer as follows:
Now I lay me down to sleep;
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I die before I wake;
I pray the Lord my soul to take.
four bars before Rehearsal #1 is music representative of one falling
asleep. The actual first
dream "Flying" is heralded in at Rehearsal #1 with a brass
fanfare followed by the actual flying motive which enters at the Allegro
at Rehearsal #2. The
l'istesso tempo five bars after Rehearsal #10 begins a musical collage
which is representative of the ending of Dream One and carries us into the
clock striking midnight at
Rehearsal #11. It should be
noted that each dream has a separate ending designed for shortened
performances of the work. In
a normal performance, the segue ending should be used.
The second dream,
"Gates of the Unknown", begins at Rehearsal #12.
This is the most programmatic of the four dreams.
The woodwinds begin this work with a Dies Irae theme, which sets
the mood for this piece. The
brass chorale at the Largo (seventh bar of Rehearsal #12) represents the
image of one standing before some very formidable gates.
The piu mosso at #13 is characteristic of these gates opening and
the flute solo at #14 is the dreamer choosing to enter these gates.
If there was any doubt that this dream was going to become a
nightmare, the low E in the bass/celli against the final brass chorale
chord three bars before #15 should end this doubt.
The music in the clarinets in the Allegro Vivace (#15) depicts the
panic of our dreamer trying to leave the maze that he has entered. The bass motive with the major seventh is 'the monster' from
whom he is fleeing. This
chase now intensifies until #20, at which point the dreamer reaches a dead
end from which there is no escape. Music
from #20 to #24 indicates the panic of being unable to escape from the
monster and finally culminates with the dreamer awakening at #24 to the
sounds of the clock striking 3 A.M. The
glissando three bars later in the strings is a musical sigh of relief that
this was only a dream.
The third dream, "Vision of a
Lost Friend", is a sentimental movement
reflecting the concept that there are some people that we can no
longer see in life but can still see in our dreams.
Since this work is written in honor of Mr.
and Mrs. O'Drobinak, this particular movement is dedicated to the
late, great jazz pianist, Bill Evans, who was a close friend of theirs.
Little needs to be said of this movement, but it should be noted
that the five-bar phrase at #28 is a musical resignation that in fact we
are all mortal. This
statement is repeated in a more dissonant manner at #29, indicating the
frustration and anger of no longer being able to see a lost friend in
The final dream,
"The American Dream", begins with a majestic fanfare at #30
followed by an energetic theme at #31.
The Lydian motive from the first dream is recapped at #33 with the
introduction of the harvest hymn best known as "For the Beauty of the
Earth" stated in a woodwind chorale at #34. The hymn states a thankful attitude toward our country's
resources. It concludes with
an invigorating return to the Allegro Giusto at #35 which takes us back to
the 'A' theme of this dream and into a coda which begins at #39.
This dream is specifically dedicated to Mr.
O'Drobinak to embody the spirit that has been so prevalent among many
great Americans and which those that know him feel he possesses.
It should also be
noted that this piece can be thought of chronologically. The work opens with a child's prayer followed by a young
person's fantasy dream of flying. The
nightmare can be thought of as an older child's realization that there are
many things to be feared in life, real or imagined.
The third dream, "Vision of a Lost Friend" is a dream
that would be typical of an older person who has begun to experience the
loss of some of their close friends or relatives.
The final dream "The American Dream" is one of
accomplishment, which is often realized at the end of a career when one
looks back at his achievements in life.
earlier, every dream has an optional ending which allows each movement to
be performed separately. This
composition has been orchestrated and written in such a way that it is
possible to segue from Dream One to Dream Three or Four and from Dream Two
to Dream Four. Thus, the conductor is provided with several options in any
given performance. The total
work is 12'45". Deleting
any one movement would shorten the work by approximately 3 minutes.
O'Drobinak was at one time the Managing Partner of the Indianapolis branch of Price
Waterhouse, and this work was commissioned as a gift for his retirement.