dreaming the dark down slowly

Complete Work Title: 

dreaming the dark down slowly

Performance Medium: 

solo mezzo-soprano, solo tenor, solo dancer; small onstage chorus (3 females, 3 males), offstage chorus (with miscellaneous hand-held wind/percussion instruments)

  1. Lullaby
  2. Awakening
  3. Dream
  4. Re-awakening
  5. Processional
  6. Lullaby




to Jan Harrington and the Indiana University Contemporary Vocal Ensemble

Date Composed: 

December 1989 - January 1990

Additional Information: 

Text and choreography by Emily B. Stewart

Performance/Broadcast History: 
  • 11 November 1990; Indiana University Art Museum (Bloomington, IN)
  • 9 November 1990; Indiana University Art Museum (Bloomington, IN)
  • 4 March 1990; Indiana University Creative Arts Auditorium (Bloomington, IN)
  • 3 March 1990; Indiana University Creative Arts Auditorium (Bloomington, IN) [premiere]

    Indiana University Contemporary Vocal Ensemble; Jan Harrington, conductor

Program Notes: 

When director Jan Harrington approached me with the prospect of composing a work for the Indiana University Contemporary Vocal Ensemble in collaboration with choreographer Emily Stuart, I was both enthusiastic about the dramatic possibilities and a bit tentative regarding the collaborative process itself. During my initial meetings with Emily, it was apparent that we had quite dissimilar aesthetic concerns, and therefore, somewhat different conceptual approaches to this particular work. As the composer, my primary goal was to create a music that would be an equal partner to the visual drama, neither dominating nor playing a subservient role to it. In particular, I wanted to integrate and manipulate the sound materials in a compelling, musically satisfying way, and to avoid creating a mere textural backdrop to the stage action. As for the form of the work, we had a pretty clear idea early on of how it would be structured, though the details were slowly formulated over a period of several months by a continuous process of reworking and elaborating upon each other's materials. Thus, each stage of the work's development was the result of a kind of artistic cross-pollination, whereby a particular action would determine an appropriate musical response, and vice versa. This interactive process gave each of us a fresh perspective toward the creation of dreaming the dark down slowly, and in the final analysis, those creative differences which I had initially regarded with some apprehension actually proved to be the essential catalyst for a work I consider to be a truly collaborative effort.