A Child’s Garden of Dreams

A Child’s Garden of Dreams 2017-03-08T19:56:31+00:00

Project Description

Wind Ensemble
1985
35 min.
Grade 6+

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University of Massachusetts at Amherst Wind Ensemble, Malcolm W. Rowell, Jr., cond.
On the album, Wind Music of David Maslanka (1996)

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Preview Score

Instrumentation

Picc-2 Fl-3 Ob-3 E♭Cl B♭Cl-3 BCl CbCl Bsn-3 Cbsn SSx-2 TSx BSx | Hn-4 B♭Tpt-3 Trb-3 Euph(opt.) Tuba-2 | Hp Pno E.Org Perc-6
  • Piccolo (2)
  • Flute (3)
  • Oboe (3)
  • Clarinet in E♭
  • Clarinet in B♭ (3)
  • Bass Clarinet in B♭
  • Contrabass Clarinet in B♭
  • Alto Saxophone (2)
  • Tenor Saxophone
  • Baritone Saxophone
  • Bassoon (3)
  • Contrabassoon
  • Horn in F (4)
  • Trumpet in B♭ (3)
    • Optional C or E♭ Trumpets in Mvt. 1: mm. 78-106
  • Trombone (2)
  • Bass Trombone
  • Euphonium (opt.)
  • Tuba
  • Harp
  • Piano
  • Electric Organ
  • Required Percussion (6 players)
    • Antique Cymbals (C, C, D)
    • Anvil
    • Bass Drum
    • Bongo (2 sm)
    • Bongo (2 med)
    • Crash Cymbals
    • Crystal glass (2, filled with water to sound B4 and C5, taped to wooden table)
    • Gong (4 sm of different sizes and timbres. If necessary, 4 small suspended cymbals may be substituted)
    • Hi-hat Cymbal
    • Marimba
    • Orchestra Bells
    • Ratchet
    • Sizzle Cymbal
    • Slide Whistle (tin penny whistle)
    • Snare Drum
    • Suspended Cymbal (sm, lg, w/ cello or bass bow)
    • Tam-tam
    • Tambourine
    • Temple Block (3 sm, med, 3 lg)
    • Tenor Drum (3)
    • Tom-tom (3 sm, 3 med, 4 lg)
    • Triangle (lg)
    • Vibraphone
    • Wood Block (2 sm, lg)
    • Xylophone
For wind ensembles and concertos, please use one player per part. For symphonies and concert pieces, more players may be used as desired. David’s full statement.

Movements

  1. There is a desert on the moon where the dreamer sinks so deeply into the ground that she reaches hell.
  2. A drunken woman falls into the water and comes out renewed and sober.
  3. A horde of small animals frightens the dreamer. The animals increase to a tremendous size, and one of them devours the little girl.
  4. A drop of water is seen as it appears when looked at through a microscope. The girl sees that the drop is full of tree branches. This portrays the origin of the world.
  5. An ascent into heaven where pagan dances are being celebrated; and a descent into hell where angels are doing good deeds.

Commissioned by

John P. Paynter, Marietta Paynter and the Northwestern University Symphonic Wind Ensemble.

Premiere

26 February 1982 by the Northwestern University Symphonic Wind Ensemble, John P. Paynter, conductor, at Pick-Staiger Hall, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL.

Errata

  • Movement 4
    • 117: Horns have a written E♭; it should be a written F♮
  • Movement 5
    • 61: Bar. Sax has a new time signature of 5/4; it should be 4/4

Program Note

A Child’s Garden of Dreams was commissioned by John and Marietta Paynter for the Northwestern University Symphonic Wind Ensemble. It was composed in the summer of 1981 and premiered by Northwestern in 1982.

The following material is from Man and His Symbols by Carl Jung:

A very important case came to me from a man who was himself a psychiatrist. One day he brought me a handwritten booklet he had received as a Christmas present from his ten-year-old daughter. It contained a whole series of dreams she had had when she was eight. They made up the weirdest series of dreams I had ever seen, and I could well understand why her father was more than just puzzled by them. Though childlike, they were uncanny, and contained images whose origin was wholly incomprehensible to the father….

In the unabridged German original, each dream begins with the words of the old fairy tale: “Once upon a time….” By these words the little dreamer suggests that she felt each dream were a sort of fairy tale, which she wants to tell her father as a Christmas present. The father tried to explain the dreams in terms of their context. But he could not do so because there appeared to be no personal associations with them….

[The little girl] died of an infectious disease about a year after that Christmas….”

[The dreams were a preparation for death, expressed through short stories, like the tales told at primitive initiations.]

The little girl was approaching puberty and at the same time, the end of her life. Little or nothing in the symbolism of her dreams points to the beginning of a normal adult life…. When I first read her dreams, I had the uncanny feeling that they suggested impending disaster….

These dreams open up a new and rather terrifying aspect of life and death. One would expect to find such images in an aging person who looks back upon life, rather than to be given them by a child…. Their atmosphere recalls the old Roman saying, “Life is a short dream,” rather than the joy and exuberance of its springtime…. Experience shows that the unknown approach of death casts an adumbratio (an anticipatory shadow) over the life and dreams of the victim. Even the altar in Christian churches represents, on the one hand, a tomb, and on the other, a place of resurrection – the transformation of death into eternal life.”

I have selected five of the twelve dreams as motifs for the movements of this composition:

  1. There is a desert on the moon where the dreamer sinks so deeply into the ground that she reaches hell.
  2. A drunken woman falls into the water and comes out renewed and sober.
  3. A horde of small animals frightens the dreamer. The animals increase to a tremendous size, and one of them devours the little girl.
  4. A drop of water is seen as it appears when looked at through a microscope. The girl sees that the drop is full of tree branches. This portrays the origin of the world.
  5. An ascent into heaven where pagan dances are being celebrated; and a descent into hell where angels are doing good deeds.

Program note by David Maslanka.
Excerpts from pp. 69-75 of Man and His Symbols by Carl Jung. New York: Doubleday, 1964.

Further Reading

  • David Maslanka: Music for Young Wind Ensembles

David Maslanka: Works for Younger Wind Ensembles

16 July 2015|0 Comments

Here are more than twenty works for wind ensemble, arranged in approximate ascending order of difficulty, with commentary by David Maslanka

The Nature of Consciousness: Correspondence

9 June 2015|0 Comments

We'd love to encourage you to write to David with questions or comments that you have about his music. He loves hearing your thoughts and feelings. Get in touch on the Contact page. June 6, [...]

  • Mark Morette and David Maslanka

Recording the Wind Ensemble Music of David Maslanka

25 February 2015|0 Comments

Mark Morette of Mark Custom Recording shares his extensive experience in recording wind ensembles.

Remarks before the premiere of A Child’s Garden of Dreams, Book 2

7 December 2008|0 Comments

Remarks made 7 December 2008 in Boone, NC before the premiere of A Child's Garden of Dreams, Book 2, by the Appalachian Symphony Orchestra, James Allen Anderson, conductor. I'm not going to say [...]

Some things that are true: Reflections on being an artist at the end of the 20th century

20 November 1998|0 Comments

Society of Composers Incorporated Region VIII Conference, University of Montana at Missoula. Keynote address by David Maslanka – November 20, 1998 As soon as one speaks about “truth” there will be objections. Since we live [...]

An Analytical Study of David Maslanka’s A Child’s Garden of Dreams

31 May 1994|0 Comments

The five movements of A Child's Garden of Dreams are inspired by five dreams selected from Carl Jung's Man and His Symbols. Dr. David Booth's doctoral dissertation on A Child's Garden of Dreams provides an analysis of each of the work's five [...]

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