I dance myself to sleep : full orchestra
by Joseph Twist (2010)
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Sleeping has long been a fascinating and frustrating activity for
me. I am a very light sleeper, if not a frequent insomniac, and
when I do sleep I often have bizarre and surreal dreams - which I
assume most of us experience at some point. Sleeping is a
mysterious activity; a strange altered state of consciousness
that may involve sleepwalking, nightmares and fantasies, while
also being an essential part of living,
relaxation, escape and peace. The power of sleep may go further;
as Walt Whitman suggested, sleep is a democratising force - even
murderers sleep like the rest of us, young and old, black and
I Dance Myself to Sleep explores the general idea of sleep, but more specifically it relates to a perplexing recurring dream that involves the central 'female companion' characters from some of my favourite childhood movies like Superman, the Indiana Jones films and the Star Wars saga. Representing this is a repeated, romantic melody - a 'love theme' that I wrote at the age of 12 in homage to the enchanting love themes in film scores by John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith and Max Steiner. However, this recurring dream developed over several years, becoming less whimsical and naive, allegorically suggesting a loss of innocence. This is represented musically in my work by the juxtaposition of sweeping romanticism and haunting musical gestures. The simple melody is played in contexts made bittersweet by particular orchestration, counterpoint and harmony that shrouds and taints the unadorned melody. I Dance Myself to Sleep synthesises several musical influences on my work, including film music and jazz harmony, as well as particular works of Maurice Ravel and Toru Takemitsu. Joseph Twist © 2011
Instrumentation: Flute (doubling piccolo), oboe (doubling on cor anglais), 2 clarinets in Bb (2nd doubling bass clarinet), bassoon, 2 horns in F, 2 trumpets in C, trombone, tuba, timpani, percussion (2 players), harp, piano (doubling celeste), strings.
Duration: 8 min.
Commission note: Commissioned by Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.. Commissioned as part of the Cybec 21st Century Composer Program
First performance: by Melbourne Symphony Orchestra — 29 Jan 11. Iwaki Auditorium ABC Southbank Centre, Melbourne
Written for the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra as part of the Cybec 21st Century Composer Program 2010
Resonate article: The life story of a diva as told by a string quartet by Joseph Twist
Performances of this work
30 Apr 2011: at MSO: Dancing in the Dark (The Malthouse).
29 Jan 11: Iwaki Auditorium ABC Southbank Centre, Melbourne. Featuring Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.
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