BBC Radio 3 / BBC Radio 4 / BBC Proms Co-commissionWorld Premiere
The Aurora Orchestra | Nicholas Collon (cond)
20th August 2014
Royal College of Music, London
Broadcast live simultaneously on Radio 3 In-Tune and Radio 4 PM
Darkened Dreams was commissioned by the BBC Proms and BBC Radio 4's PM programme. The work utilises 'sounds of everyday life' as submitted by PM's listeners (listed below) between January and May 2014. These sounds have been manipulated to tell the (very loose) story of a traveller falling asleep in his tent by a campfire beneath stormy skies, dreaming of the journeys they've had.
The role of the acoustic ensemble is for the most part simply to colour and interact in interesting ways with the listeners’ sounds. The orchestration is translucent and transparent, with a restrained, reticent soprano saxophone melody that is coloured, and in some cases, blurred by the rest of the ensemble. This material is designed to highlight the idea of the electronic and acoustic elements’ sounds ‘bleeding’ and mixing into each other, as they do throughout the work. The listeners’ sounds have only been manipulated into a ‘soundscape’ - the source sounds themselves have had very little manipulation in-terms of affecting the actual original sounds - the intention was to stay as true as possible to the listeners’ submissions.
The middle section gives contrast to the soft, dreamlike material. Here, the backing track’s rhythmic drainpipe, pedestrian crossing, and camera click combine to create a ‘groove’ which the acoustic ensemble dive into. This energised material is short-lived, quickly fading back into the dreamy, hypnotic state of the traveller’s fantastical vision.