For orchestra
Duration 17:25 min.

Premiered by the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, January 14th 2010 in Reykjavík, Iceland, conducted by Bernharður Wilkinson.

Recipient of the Nordic Council Music Prize 2012:
"Dreaming opens the sphere of the symphony orchestra in an unusual and innovative way. … The music behaves like a shifting landscape, bringing an experience of chronological time to halt - like in dreams. … The tones are carefully depicted - almost like small pieces of embroidery. But the work is perhaps particularly unique by the way it achieves to build and unfold a large form within a sound world that apparently stands still." 
NCMP Adjudicating Committee

Selected reviews:
“Dreaming is an imposing monolith that emerges from silence and recedes back into it, speaking of natural desolation, severe beauty and precarious tectonics in between.” - Andrew Mellor, Gramophone, Jan 2019

“Dreaming is a refined, richly detailed but subdued meditation, in which every department of the orchestra is nearly always in full view, but in constantly shifting relationships with each other. … the overall effect is so mysterious that when the piece ends, your immediate impulse is to play it again." - Allan Kozinn, San Francisco Classical Voice, June 9th 2017

"The most telling work on [Recurrence] is Anna Thorvaldsdóttir‘s gorgeous Dreaming... The opening texture here is a veritable soup: soft percussive tappings, granular and pitched elements, glissandi, tremolando clusters, phrase morsels, chords coalescing somewhere. From this nascent broth of possibilities Thorvaldsdóttir gradually starts to instigate the formation of sound objects, seemingly under their own gravity. There are moments of violence in these formative acts, though these too feel like creative contributions to music that doesn’t so much gain pace as gather momentum and clout. But this textural space is unpredictable: it evaporates into a low miasma from which melody emerges, coloured with repeated chimings, and this too becomes lost within a gaseous environment where isolated gestures are dispersed around and vestiges of pitch remain hanging in the air. Pure magic." - Simon Cummings, 5:4, June 5th 2017

"[T]he depth and sumptuousness of the orchestral writing ... turn [Dreaming] into a compelling, even ravishing, creation." - Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle, November 27th 2011

Released on Rhízōma, Anna’s debut portrait album, in October 2011, by Innova Recordings.

Program notes:

flow free

A quiet soundworld is born from silence, the piece is born from the quiet. The music is in a single movement which from beginning to end embodies a flowing world of sound. The conductor becomes a part of the orchestra as his role and “performance” is at certain moments written in a different way than regular beating of time. After the development of a flowing interplay between the instruments, each performer gradually begins to perform individually so that the orchestra becomes an ensemble of soloistic events. The motionless presence of the conductor directs the piece in the end - his presence alone is enough to lead the orchestra and the piece into the infinite. Time is redundant. The cycle continues.

The inspiration is not in the form of recreating the soundworld or visual presentation already found in nature. It can rather be used as a tool to work with and measure proportions and natural progression.

In each chord there is a world of collective sounds where the small sound particles dissolve and create their own world. By attending to the various qualities of the sound the perception can be changed from one moment to the next.