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Dreamer for SATB Soloists, SATB Choir & Organ (2019)

Title: Dreamer

Year: 2019

Instrumentation: SATB Soloists, SATB Choir & Organ 

Duration: 3' 00"


Commissioned by The Cumnock Tryst Festival 2019, written for the Novanae Singers, The Cumnock Tryst Festival Chorus and organist David Gerrard. Composed as a gift to the composer Sir James MacMillan on the occasion of his 60th Birthday.


Dreamer takes its inspiration from Robert Burns’ poem ‘Sweet Afton’ which sets an idyllic pastoral scene by the banks of the river Afton that flows through the village of New Cumnock in Ayrshire. In the poem, the narrator calls upon the river to run softly so as not to disrupt the reveries of his beloved who sleeps by its banks. This song sets only the first stanza of Burns’ poem and attempts to provide a re-imagining of the original melody that is often associated with Sweet Afton. I have very fond and vivid memories of singing this same melody in primary school as a young boy growing up with the river Afton running through my hometown of New Cumnock. Therefore, Dreamer has been written as a celebration of reflective childhood memories, while also evoking a mystical dream-like quality within the music, as though this song exists in the subconscious memories of the narrator’s sleeping beloved.

Dreamer for SATB Soloists, SATB Choir & Organ (2019)

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