for violin and piano(2018)
|5: (I) (II) (III) (IV) (V)
|Commissioned by Maya Bennardo and Karl Larson
|March 28, 2018; Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo OH; Maya Bennardo, violin • Karl Larson, piano
Five Dreams was written for my friends Karl Larson and Maya Bennardo. It is in five uninterrupted movements, each exploring a limited set of shared harmonies and melodic essentials. By dreams, I was thinking not only of the usual night-dreams, but of daydreams and the dreams of ‘hopes and dreams.’ I also imagined dreaming as a sort of cocoon from which we can’t escape other than by intervention, except perhaps in a lucid dream. The labyrinthine harmonies suggested this sense of “captivity” to me, but also flavor the uncertain and often dreamlike quality of reality itself with a hint in the direction of something nice, untroubled and immutable.
The score eschews traditional metered notation for a freer approach using timeline notation in which each measure represents about 8 seconds. Both performers read from the full score. It is recommended that performers rehearse with stopwatches to get a sense of the spaces between events, and to help create a sense of calm and stability when it comes to timing and flow. After sufficient rehearsals, the stopwatches may be set aside. Slight fluctuations in ‘tempo’ are of course expected and encouraged. Synchronous events are marked with vertical dashed lines in a few important cases; I left them out when I deemed the desired effect obvious. The five movements should be played back to back without interruption. Because the piece is on the quieter side, both instruments may be amplified, if desired, to allow for a more detailed listening experience.
– Adrian Knight