A Dream Within A Dream (text: Edgar Allen Poe) for SATB choir; 5' (2003)
performed by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Madrigal Singers, dir. Bruce Gladstone:
composer's note: "A Dream Within a Dream" was written for a concert to be sung in a huge, resonant cathedral. I especially love the way Poe's words convey the powerful sense of being lost between reality and dreaming, of losing hope amidst the vastness of the universe... and so, this setting aims for that same goal by having the choir swim around in such a resonant space. It begins and ends with a simple A Minor chord, while in between those two simple chords lies madness and dreaming and existential crises and floods of emotion.
text: Take this kiss upon the brow! And, in parting from you now, Thus much let me avow -- You are not wrong, who deem That my days have been a dream; Yet if hope has flown away In a night, or in a day, In a vision, or in none, Is it therefore the less gone? All that we see or seem Is but a dream within a dream.
I stand amid the roar Of a surf-tormented shore, And I hold within my hand Grains of the golden sand -- How few! yet how they creep Through my fingers to the deep, While I weep — while I weep! O God! Can I not grasp Them with a tighter clasp? O God! can I not save One from the pitiless wave? Is all that we see or seem But a dream within a dream?