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Dreams and visions : full orchestra : youth orchestra

by Betty Beath (1996)

Score Sample

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Audio Sample

Performance by Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Mark Summerbell from the CD Selected works by AMC represented artists

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New music for orchestra.


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New music for orchestra.

Library shelf no. CD 447 [Available for loan]

Dreams and visions


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Dreams and visions : an orchestral suite in six movements / by Betty Beath.

Library shelf no. 784.2185/BEA 1 [Available for loan]

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Work Overview

Dreams and Visions, an orchestral suite in six movements, was composed for the Queensland Symphony Orchestra's 1996 Meet the Composer series. Its first movement, Prelude to Sleep, suggests that experience we often enjoy before sleep, a letting go of the busy activities of the day, allowing the mind to settle quietly, with just the occasional sharp focus on a particular thought. The scoring, like the mood of the movement, is subdued, focusing on the strings with woodwind highlights.

Prelude to Sleep moves without pause to Birds the Colour of the Moon, bridged by a short passage for solo violin. This movement moves into a more colourful soundscape and is a response to the images that came from the title; impressions of color, freedom and flight and slow-moving images against a luminous background. The third movement, The She-wolf, has a focus on energy, drama and contrast and heightened emotional response to personal images encountered in dreams. In this movement there is both conflict and resolution of conflict.

Earth Spirit has fundamental connections with the earth and, in its rhythm and motive material, has influences derived from Aboriginal song. Toward the Dawn, the fifth movement in the suite, has links with the first movement, Prelude to Sleep. The time before dawn is often rich with dream experience but has, too, the added significance of return to familiar consciousness as the new day dawns. Day Dream, the brief, exultant sixth movement, concludes the work. It is a joyous response to an inner world of imagination and dreams.

Work Details

Year: 1996

Instrumentation: Piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, cor anglais, 2 clarinets (B flat), 2 bassoons, 3 horns in F, 2 trumpets in B flat, 2 trombones, bass trombone, timpani, percussion (1 player), harp, piano, strings.

Duration: 20 min.

Difficulty: Advanced — Youth orchestra/Professional.

Contents note: 1. Prelude to sleep -- 2. Birds the colour of the moon -- 3. The she-wolf -- 4. Earth spirit -- 5. Toward dawn -- 6. Day dream.

Commission note: Commissioned by Queensland Symphony Orchestra.. Commissioned for performance in a Meet the Composer concert, Brisbane 1996.

First performance: by Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Mark Summerbell — 23 Oct 96. Meet the Composer Concert, ABC, Ferry Road Studio, Brisbane.

Developed from sketches made at the time I was writing an orchestral work for the Queensland Symphony Orchestra ... also titled 'Dreams and visions'.


Betty Beath plays her solo piano works Didjeridu and Earth Spirit (from Dreams and Visions), illustrations by David Cox


Performances of this work

30 Apr 2009: at Women composers then and now (Nickson Room). Featuring Katie Zhukov.

9 Mar 2009: at Women Composers Then and Now (Recital Hall West, Sydney Conservatorium of Music). Featuring Katie Zhukov.

25 Oct 96: Meet the Composer concert held at ABC Studios, Ferry Road, Brisbane.. Featuring Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Mark Summerbell.

23 Oct 96: Meet the Composer Concert, ABC, Ferry Road Studio, Brisbane.. Featuring Mark Summerbell, Queensland Symphony Orchestra.

21 Aug 96: Lunchtime recital, Central Queensland University, Rockhampton. Featuring Betty Beath.

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