For Violin & String Orchestra
Duration: c. 12 mins | Commissioned by The New Century Chamber Orchestra
Dreamscapes is a musical depiction of what happens during a dream from the moment one falls asleep until one is fully awake. Its form is loosely based on my research on the subject of rapid eye movement (REM) and lucid dreaming. Both give the piece a sectional but solid structure, divided by phases and segments. The piece follows a storyline created from notes I took of my dreams. The solo violin represents self-awareness, while the orchestra represents the unconscious mind, providing the scenario changes throughout the piece. The work begins with colorful effects that symbolize the moments before falling asleep when the dreamer is still conscious enough to have power over their thoughts. Then, a slow theme is introduced, symbolizing the dream the self wishes to have. The theme gradually disperses as the dreamer goes deeper into sleep, losing consciousness and control, sometimes leading to moments of feverish passion interspersed with nightmarish episodes.
Assad’s “Dreamscapes,” a 12-minute violin concerto that seeks to conjure up a sleeper’s internal state, got a vivid rendition with Salerno-Sonnenberg as the tireless soloist. The music pursues a surreal jumble of moods – a burst of Expressionism, an angular nightmare waltz, an uneasy rhapsody and more – with the violin as the guiding consciousness always at the fore. Cellist Michelle Djokic made a handsome secondary contribution. May 19th, 2009Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle
Things heated up during Assad’s Dreamscapes, with Salerno-Sonnenberg standing to solo and adopting an appropriately athletic approach to what the composer, in her program notes, describes as “this notion of awareness versus subconscious.” Like Hermann and Borodin, Assad arrays various the strings to make both the parts (including soloists) and the whole support her compositional concept, in the process showcasing the NCCO’s individual and collective skills. This is an exciting and worthy addition to the repertoire, and Assad was called to the stage to receive a well-deserved bouquet.Jeff Kaliss, San Francisco Classical Voice