for saxophone quartet
2. A Blues for Sam Lowry
3. The Fisher King
Uneasy Dreams is based on fantasy sequences from films directed by Terry Gilliam.
The opening section, Tideland, conjures up eleven-year-old Jeliza-Rose’s elaborate flights of fancy. The piece begins in murky twilight, the air punctuated by swarms of fireflies; the texture gradually transforms to evoke an underwater dream world. Sam Lowry, the anti-hero of Brazil, is an ordinary man trapped in a totalitarian dystopia but resigned to his fate. Gilliam’s film The Fisher King retells the Parsifal story in modern-day New York. The music for this final section is a distorted and half-remembered chorale that draws on a chord sequence from Wagner’s Parsifal.
All three sections of Uneasy Dreams run without a break; the piece lasts 8 minutes. The title is borrowed from the first sentence of Kafka’s Metamorphosis:
“As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.”
© Stephen Goss