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Augusta Read Thomas

Publisher: G. Schirmer

Terpsichore's Dream (2007)
G Schirmer Inc
Sub Category
Chamber Orchestra
Year Composed
17 Minutes
Programme Note
Augusta Read Thomas Terpsichore's Dream (2007)
Related works:
   Terpsichore's Dream
   Terpsichore's Dream (ballet)

Terpsichore's Dream, composed in 2007, and scored for a chamber orchestra consisting of 2 flute (2nd doubles piccolo), 1 oboe, 2 clarinet in Bb (2nd doubles bass clarinet in Bb), 1 bassoon, 2 horn, 2 trumpet, 1 trombone, 4 percussion, piano (doubling celesta), 2 harps and strings, is dedicated with admiration and gratitude to Cliff Colnot.

The work, of 17-minutes duration, was premiered on October 18, 2007 by the Utah Symphony, Cliff Colnot conducting. I wish to thank the Utah Symphony, in particular, Clovis Lark and Elizabeth Cusato for their vision, effort and kindness in making this project possible.

In Greek mythology, Terpsichore ("delight of dancing") was one of the nine Muses, ruling over dance and the dramatic chorus. She lends her name to the word "terpsichorean" which means "of or relating to dance". She is usually depicted sitting down, holding a lyre, accompanying with her music to the dancers' choirs. She is sometimes said to be the mother of the Sirens by Achelous. Her name comes from the Greek words ("delight") and ("dance").

—Augusta Read Thomas

  • Ensemble
    Various Artists
    Nimbus Alliance:
Maestro Colnot displays an affinity for Ms. Thomas's music, applying a firm hand to ​​his manipulation of the musical fragments that Ms. Thomas combines to create an alluring mosaic depicting the mythological muse of dance. The musicality of the playing of the chamber orchestra is impeccable, and the rhythmic vitality of the performance lends grace and endearing luminosity to Ms. Thomas's balletic writing. The plangent trombone lines are especially beautifully done, and the combination of celesta, harp, and glockenspiel produces sensually ethereal sounds.
Joseph Newsome,,01/05/2014
Terpsichore's Dream is an evocative, atmospheric piece that is filled with subtle lyricism and rhythmic vitality. It's the kind of piece that appeals to both musicians, because it spotlights them individually and sectionally, and to audiences, because of its irresistible infectiousness.
Edward Reichel, Deseret News,01/06/2008
"The work is vividly orchestrated, and Thomas skillfully moves around the orchestra, creating bursts of color that move quickly and smoothly from one section to another. Terpsichore being the muse of dance in ancient Greek mythology, one would expect a score invoking her name to be rhythmic and vibrant, and Thomas certainly doesn't disappoint in that regard. The piece is captivatingly dancelike and fluid, with a driving energy that is barely contained. The orchestra under Colnot's expert direction played effortlessly, wonderfully capturing the intensity of the score, as well as its vitality and luminosity. One can say without hesitation that Terpsichore's Dream is one of Thomas' best works to date."
Edward Reichel, Deseret Morning News,19/10/2007
"The marquee attraction was the world premiere of Terpsichore's Dream by Augusta Read Thomas, who was on hand to introduce the piece. Inspired by the Greek Muse of dance, Terpsichore's Dream is a smoothly flowing series of dancelike vignettes, by turns ethereal and propulsive …with a jazzy episode that strongly recalled Stravinsky's early ballet music. Associate concertmaster David Park brought the piece to a dreamy end, his violin notes floating down through a high, focused chord - the orchestral equivalent of a beam of light."
Catherine Reese Newton , The Salt Lake Tribune,19/10/2007
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