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Dream Catcher (2008)

For solo violin (and/or in the version for solo viola)

Duration: 6 minutes
Revised (shortened) in 2021


BUY SCORE (violin)
BUY SCORE (viola)


Informal reference recording is available for private listening. If you would like to review the recording please Contact Augusta Read Thomas.

CD Available

This work is available on
Clarissa Bevilacqua plays Augusta Read Thomas


The UNREVISED version of this work is available on Dialogue

Program Note

Native American tradition attaches special meaning to dreams. One tradition was to hang a 'dream catcher' that would move freely in the night air. The hand-crafted object consists of a web within a ring, with feathers extended from the perimeter of the ring. According to tradition, good dreams know their destination: they slip through the hole in the center of the web and glide gently down the feather into the subconscious of the dreamer. Bad dreams become entangled in the web and dissipate with the light of the dawn.

Although highly notated, precise, carefully structured, soundly proportioned, and while musicians are elegantly working from a nuanced, specific text, I like my music to have the feeling that it is organically being self-propelled - on the spot.  As if we listeners are overhearing a captured improvisation.

My music, which is organic and, at every level, concerned with transformations and connections, should be played so that the inner life of the different rhythmic, timbral and pitch syntaxes are made explicit and are then organically allied to one another with characterized phrasing of rhythm, color, harmony, counterpoint, tempo, keeping it alive — continuously sounding spontaneous.  

All of this, hopefully, working toward the fundamental goal: to compose a work in which every musical parameter is allied in one holistic gestalt.

Dream Catcher for solo viola is dedicated with admiration and gratitude to Carol Rodland. The original, violin version, dedicated with admiration and gratitude to Maria Schleuning, received its world premiere May 3, 2009 in Dallas, Texas by Voices of Change.

— Augusta Read Thomas

Selected Reviews

Scott Cantrell, The Dallas Morning News (May 4, 2009) "Dream Catcher spelled dreamy ruminations with jazzy dance episodes. Schleuning played it with gorgeous, gleaming tone and pinpoint intonation."

Colin Clarke, Fanfare Magazine “The title (Dream Catcher) is carefully chosen; although the music is rigorously structured, the composer likes it to imply a “captured improvisation”, as she puts it. The performance here is by the solo viola version dedicatee and is heard in a most eloquent account. Rodland does indeed find the intended spontaneity; yet the fact that the work extends over nine minutes and yet is so eminently satisfying a musical experience underlines the musico-organizational activities behind it all. A remarkable disc that holds many treasures.”



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Augusta Read Thomas's works, please contact G. Schirmer Inc..