Fever Dream was a joint commission between NYC/Rochester-based pianist Georgia Mills and San Fransisco-based pianist Phoebe Wu. The work was premiered by Georgia Mills, April 14th, 2018 in New York City. It has also been performed in Knoxville TN, and will be on programs in Rochester NY, San Fransisco CA, and Boston, MA (by Lucy Yao) in the 2018-2019 concert season.
Fever Dream is something of an exploration of my recent experiences with insomnia, on the zone of consciousness in which the line between conscious thought and dream is blurry, and the time I’ve spent in that zone over the last several months. I’ve found that in this space, the mind releases bizarre digestions of every thought it had over the course of that day, and these manifest in bizarre, insistent, and often incredibly vivid ways, resembling in some ways a fervent argument with a mirror. In this work, a joint commission by NYC pianist Georgia Mills and San-Francisco-based pianist Phoebe Wu, the idea of a duality of states of “awakeness” is explored through the changing relationship between the piano and the electronic playback. The shifting relative magnitudes of each “character” varies over the course of the work to reflect the way that one’s deliberate thoughts might be complemented, antagonized, obscured, or clarified by the more dream-like state of conciousness, all within one sleepless night. At times, ideas that were originally introduced as one’s own thoughts might return in warped and transfigured ways as part of a walking dream, and this tendency for the imagination to recontextualize and to transfigure something that might be a product of one’s rational mind has been a simultaneously terrifying and fascinating part of my experience in these states. At the end of such an episode, the sun rises, and either the dream-world has won you over, or your waking mind has kept it’s grip held tight, both experiences with the potential to be equally surreal in their own midsts. It’s quite up to the listener to determine which of these scenarios ultimately ensued in Fever Dream.