for Orchestra

Steven Stucky

Performing Ensemble: Orchestra
Publisher: Merion Music, Inc.
Print Status: Rental

Quick Overview

"Dreamwaltzes" is the result of a commission from the Minnesota Orchestra, kindly supported by the Jerome Foundation, to write a new work for their annual Sommerfest series in Minneapolis. Since the management of the orchestra suggested that the new piece have some connection with the Viennese theme of the Sommerfest concerts, I found myself daydreaming about the waltz, and about Viennese composers like Schubert, Brahms, Mahler, and Berg, all of whom treated the waltz seriously in their music. "Dreamwaltzes" is a public version of those daydreams: an orchestral fantasy of about fifteen minutes, based closely on fragments of real Viennese waltz music.

There are three waltz episodes. In each, a real waltz ?artifact? furnishes the raw material: in the first, one of Brahms?s "Liebeslieder" waltzes (op.52, no. 6); in the scherzo-like episode, a few notes from Richard Strauss?s Viennese masterpiece, "Der Rosenkavalier". From time to time these originals float briefly to the surface. The three waltz episodes are surrounded by slower music forming an introduction, interludes, and a coda; this slower music, too, sometimes alludes to "Rosenkavalier".

But in "Dreamwaltzes" the past proves elusive; the waltz music is always slipping away almost as soon as it has begun. The point is clearest in the crucial third episode. Here, after a gradually evolving, accelerating development, the orchestra seems just on the point of reentering fully the late nineteenth century in some grand, unrestrained waltz music?when suddenly the whole affair collapses, and we are back in our own time. A composer in the late twentieth century can admire the waltz from a distance, but he cannot make it his own.

The composition was complete in April 1986. Leonard Slatkin conducted the Minnesota Orchestra in the first performance on 17 July of the same year. Among the many other orchestras that have since performed the work are the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the BBC Symphony, and the symphony orchestras of Atlanta, Boston, Cincinnati, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Phoenix, and St. Louis.

Available on Rental

Scores & Parts

Dreamwaltzes - Full Score - Study
Dreamwaltzes - Full Score - Large

Additional Information

Commission Commissioned by the Minnesota Orchestra with support from the Jerome Foundation.
Composition Date 1986
Duration 00:15:00
Orchestration 3(2Picc.) 3(E.H.) 3(B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) - 4 4 3 1; Timp. 3Perc. Pno.(Cel.) Hp. Str.
Premiere 17th July, 1986. Minnesota Orchestra, conducted by Leonard Slatkin; Minneapolis, MN.

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