Dorian Dreamscape

Robert Sheldon
Alfred Publishing, 2004


For a piece written in 3/4 throughout, and never changing key from the c dorian mode, Dorian Dreamscape (2004) has enough musical elements within its measures to challenge and excite even your least motivated middle school musicians!   The composition is lightly scored throughout, always maintaining an effervescent dream-like feeling.  The accompaniment for much of the piece is simple, flowing half note and quarter note lines above an almost camel-like bass line that keeps a sense of pulse in the piece.

Above this accompaniment is a lyrical legato melodic line comprised of quarter and eighth note rhythms weaving in and out between sections and instruments.  Percussion is lightly scored with wind chimes, cymbal scrapes, and triangle to help maintain the light, airy quality portrayed in the melody.

For a simple piece written to the level of a young band, this piece will capture the imagination and interest of your young ensemble while also being highly playable.  It would be an excellent choice to put against a more energetic selection to balance a concert or festival program!

Performance Notes

This dreamy interlude is a wonderful way to introduce young bands to the subtler aspects of performance. Elegant melodic lines, along with intriguing harmonies and textures, greatly enhance this musical fantasy in a modal setting. An excellent piece to add to any concert or contest program!

Musical Challenges

Before performing this piece, the band must review the rules of chorale-style playing!  Long, flowing, lyrical passages should always dominate the texture over the harmonic accompaniment and more rhythmic bass line.  Note values should be held through and emphasis should be placed on having no gaps within phrases.  Students should also lean on moving rhythms, and follow the rise and fall of their melodic line with their dynamics.

As new instruments take over the melody, they should take delight in performing the most characteristic sound possible on their instrument.  Allow the vibrato of the flute, the majesty of the horn, and the clarity of the trumpet to be the main focus of color in this nocturnal fantasy.

Percussion should be careful never to dominate the texture.  While the cymbal scrapes, triangle and wind chimes contribute greatly to the aura of this composition, they shouldn’t really be noticed.  Think of the percussion parts as the feng shui of the piece.  The audience should leave the performance thinking “what a lovely piece”, while never realizing it was the percussion section who created the relaxed, calming, zen-like atmosphere.

About the Composer

Robert Sheldon is one of the most performed composers of wind band music today. A recipient of numerous awards from the American School Band Director's Association, Phi Beta Mu and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, his compositions embody a level of expression that resonates with ensembles and audiences alike. His music is performed around the world and appears on many international concert and contest lists. Mr. Sheldon regularly accepts commissions for new works, and produces numerous publications for concert band each year.

Sheldon's schedule includes many appearances as guest conductor for All-State and Regional Honor Bands. He also frequently appears as a Music Education clinician, and has presented sessions and seminars at numerous colleges and universities as well as state Music Education Association conferences. He has served as a conductor and clinician throughout the United States, as well as Japan, Canada, Italy, Australia and The Republic of China, and has conducted performances of his works in New York's Carnegie Hall, Chicago's Orchestra Hall, Boston's Symphony Hall and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. Mr. Sheldon is currently Concert Band Editor for Alfred Music Publishing.