Duration: ~15 Minutes

We dream nightly – provided that is our schedule – and we dream constantly.

We often don’t remember our dreams, but many of us remember a strange conglomeration of images and situations upon waking that frequently leave us confused, elated, or exhausted.

There are those who believe that despite these strange memories of one night’s dreams that our subconscious selects images from a series of dreams that either evolve from or have nothing to do with each other.

Nocturne was born from this theory. A largely quiet and constant piece, it is a rondo in 7 sections (ABACABA) that unfolds gradually from an oscillating third presented in the piano.

Nocturne demands quite a bit from the performers. Both play constantly for the entire length of the work with virtually no opportunity for rest. (Often, dreams don’t provide us with the opportunity to rest either.) While the clarinet unfolds slowly evolving thematic material, the piano functions entirely as an accompaniment, presenting a sequence of ostinati that change gradually within each section and suddenly at the beginning of each successive section.

In my mind, Nocturne evokes the way in which dreams unfold and link to one another through evolution, sudden change, or a combination of both.

Nocturne is the third of three works commissioned by clarinetist Deborah Bish.





  • Clarinet
  • Piano
Scroll to Top