The suite of works that make up “In the library of dreams” is Frances White’s aural portrait of the dream world and its intersections with and interventions into the waking world. Frequently the mixture of electronic and acoustic elements in these pieces is reminiscent of those incongruous states where fragments of the previous night’s dreams spontaneously erupt into daily activities.
The CD opens with the shakuhachi piece Choshi, played by Ralph Samuelson. This sparely haunting work, which traditionally functions as a prelude, sets the tone for the recording to follow. Echoes of Choshi’s melody appear in “The ocean inside,” performed by a mixed quartet of winds, strings and percussion. Here an atmosphere of suspense alternates with the release afforded by a finely etched counterpoint, culminating in the kind of uncanny sensation that might follow on the sudden eruption of a recollection hovering at the edge of awareness. The title track features David Cerrutti’s pensive viola d’amore solo, which is evocative of the slightly askew logic that pervades the dream world. (In fact according to the liner notes the piece is based on a real dream White had of searching unsuccessfully for a troubadour melody in a library that dissolves as she moves through it.) Bookending Cerrutti’s solo are two “Walks through Resonant Landscapes,” electronically modified field recordings White created of the part of New Jersey where she resides. The final track features baritone Thomas Buckner’s narrative of a text written by James Pritchett, which is framed by the sounds of live viola with recorded violin.