Medium: Percussion Quartet
Publisher: C. Alan Publications
Difficulty: Grade 5
D-flat crotale, 26" timpano, 4 tuned aluminum pipes [C4, F4, Bb4, Db5], snare drum)
concert bass drum, 2 congas, bongos, 2 cymbal stacks [1 low & tight, 1 high & loose], sizzle ride, 2 low hardwood slats
tam-tam, 4 pitched aluminum pipes [Db4, Gb4, C5, F5], 3 graduated triangles laid flat on foam, 2 brake drums, China cymbal
kick bass drum, 4 low concert toms, snare drum, 2 low hardwood slats
Last fall, I experienced a nasty bout of tonsillitis that landed me in the emergency room, as my tonsils were so swollen they were starting to close off. Leading up to this, the climax of my sickness, I had a seemingly never-ending series of high fevers. With each passing cycle, I would fade in and out of restless sleep, which produced some of the most vivid and bleak dreams I’d ever experienced. These dreams/nightmares created a vision of a post-apocalyptic world filled with crumbling rubble, twisted metal, and sunless skies that I was desperately trying to escape. I attempted to capture one of these fever dream cycles in this, my first battery-only percussion quartet.
I started with the word “fever” and translated each letter into a number using one of my favorite indeterminate tools. The result was the numeric palindrone 5-4-9-4-5. These numbers informed everything in the piece, from basic rhythms to accent patterns to time signatures to phrases to overall form to the aluminum pipe pitches.
Fever Dream was commissioned by the University of Texas at Arlington Percussion Ensemble, directed by Dr. Michael Varner and Dr. Andrew Eldridge.