Carla Kihlstedt: III. Rocks and Concrete (2012)

  • Performance Date: 2013
  • Season: 2012-13
  • Series: ICElab
  • Composer Name: Carla Kihlstedt
  • Composer URL:
  • Premiere Region: World Premiere
  • Precise Instrumentation: flute, clarinet, basoon, guitar, violin, percussion, piano, harp
  • Performers: Claire Chase, flute
    Joshua Rubin, clarinet
    Rebekah Heller, bassoon
    Dan Lippel, guitar
    Erik Carlson, violin
    Jennifer Curtis, violin
    Nathan Davis, percussion
    Phyllis Chen, piano
    Bridget Kibbey, harp
    Levy Lorenzo, engineer

I. Factual Boy

Nathan has a recurring dream about a room that appears from nowhere in his house.

II. One Story Motel

This is from a dream submitted to us by Lawrence Merkert about a man selling lives out of a motel room.

III. Rocks and Concrete

I have an occasionally recurring dream that my teeth fall out.

IV. The Surrender

Rebekah had this dream involving several members of ICE.

V. Against Dreaming

Some nights I wish that things would simply be what they appear to be and stay where I put them.

VI. Adonified Sky

Claire, who at first said she had no dreams worth sharing, finally admitted to having one of the simplest and most beautiful dreams I’ve heard.. a sort of waking dream in which she slowly watches a backdrop fill with light, one point at a time. This is inspired both by that and by a dream shared with me by a friend in which, more fascinated than afraid, he felt himself die.

VII. Grand and Tiny World

Many people have submitted dreams about flying. This one is inspired by Claire’s flying dream.

VIII. Addressing a Dream

Jennifer had a dream in which she met herself as a young girl.

IX. Gæst

The words ghost and guest share an etymological root.
The people whom we conjure in our dreams are a bit of both.
This is inspired by a book of photographs and poems by
Wendy Given and Rafael Oses called Gæst.

“At Night We Walk in Circles and Are Consumed by Fire” was commissioned by ICE through the ICElab program.

Composer's Notes

I’ve always been struck by the dissonance between our waking and sleeping lives. We spend such significant time in each reality, but we have to leave one to enter the other, bringing with us only the faintest residue, image, or inarticulable sensation. The title of the piece is a translation of a Latin palindrome: In Girum Imus Nocte et Consum- imur Igni. Each of these songs is inspired by a dream told to me either by one of the performers or by the public via a public dream blog page that we set up on facebook. Talking about a dream is kind of like sending a poem through translation software to every known language and then back again into its original tongue. And then, of course, the music and lyrics create a logic of their own that reorders it all and spins it into song. We began conceiving this piece more than 18 months ago, and it’s been a wonderful experience to let it unfold and evolve over such a long time. Thanks so much to ICE and their openness and generosity, both musically and personally. And thanks to all of the people who fed the fires by submitting dreams to the blog. Although most of them do not appear in the piece, reading each and every one of them was a constant source of creative inspiration along the way.
— Carla Kihlstedt