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Download an MP3 file of a performance of the first and second movements of this work by the Kellogg Chamber Singers at California Polytech University, Iris S. Levine, director
Songs #1 & 2 were commissioned by the Illinois Music Educators Association District 7 Chorus Division, and performed by the Festival Choir on November 15, 2008, Dr. Brad Holmes, conductor
Songs #3 & 4 were commissioned by the Hamburg (NY) High School Chorale for premiere at the NY State School Music Association Conference, December 1, 2008, Rochester, NY, Norman Zogaib, conductor
Our Dream of Freedom is a set of four songs presenting four different statements about the dream of freedom.
#1. “Freedom Will Not Come Today” is a forceful song. The piano introduction grows in dynamic intensity leading to the entrance of the chorus, marked ‘boldly’. “Freedom will not come today, this year, or ever, through compromise and fear.” This is a message of asserting one’s right to freedom.
#2. “Hold Fast to Dreams,” in contrast, has a gentle theme. Dreams can be precious and fragile. Thus, florid passages in the piano accompaniment reflect the dreams as they float above us. “Hold fast...for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.” At the end of this song a portion of the first song returns to link the dreams to the aspirations of freedom.
#3. “The Dream Keeper” is a prayer for the protection of dreams. “Bring me all of your dreams, you dreamers.” The choral writing is often in hymn style, while the arpeggiated piano accompaniment flows around the chorus, perhaps “wrapping” the dreamers in a “blue-cloud cloth” of safety from the harsh world.
#4. The final song, “Dream of Freedom,” is energetic, with rhythmic sounds coming from the chorus. This song represents the fight for freedom “with its back against the wall.” The dream is described as ‘embattled’. And the singing is marked ‘emphatically.’ Accents fill the musical score. Interspersed are quiet reminders of “Dreamers, dreamers, dream on.” At the conclusion of the song comes the line “to save the dream for one it must be saved for all.” Thus, the final chord expands to ten pitches, as “notes for all.”
Notes by the composer