Apocalyptic Dreams

From Wind Repertory Project
David Gillingham

David Gillingham

Subtitle: Symphony for Band

General Info

Year: 1997
Duration: c. 16:00
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Southern Music
Cost: Score and Parts - $150.00   |   Score Only - $28.00

Movements (played without pause)

1. The Vision - 7:38
2. Cataclysmic Events - 2:55
3. Messianic Kingdom - 5:18


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
English Horn
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
E-flat Horn or Alto I-II-III-IV
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II
Bass Trombone
String Bass
Harp (optional)
Percussion I-II-III-IV-V, including:

  • Anvil
  • Bass Drum
  • Bass Marimba (with bow)
  • Brake Drum
  • Chimes
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Crotales
  • Hi-Hat
  • Marimba (with bass bow)
  • Orchestra Bells
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tam-Tam
  • Temple Blocks
  • Tom Toms (3)
  • Triangle
  • Vibraphone
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Commissioned by the University of Georgia Bands, H. Dwight Satterwhite, director of bands.

- Program Note from score

Few composers have ever tried to unravel the mysteries of the Biblical Book of Revelation in music. David Gillingham's 20th century symphony Apocalyptic Dreams attempts to do just that in a "fascinating approach with a celebratory ending," says Purdue Symphonic Band conductor Jay Gephart, whose ensemble tackles the piece during a Sunday, Nov. 17, 2002, concert.

Gephart says he found Gillingham's composition so intriguing he wanted to share it with the community.

"The whole notion of the approaching end in time, talked about in Revelations, is scary to many, but fascinating," Gephart says. "It captures the imagination and arouses a certain level of curiosity."

Gephart says the 18-minute work contains special relevance in the beginning of the 21st century.

"There's a feeling that some of what's going on today in the Middle East is actually fulfilling the prophecies of Revelations," Gephart says. "And there's a Left Behind series of Christian novels currently on best-seller lists that cast the events in Revelations in modern day scenarios."

Composer David Gillingham, who represents one of those people fascinated by Revelations, seized the opportunity to address it musically when the University of Georgia commissioned him to write a full symphony for concert band. Gephart says the composer wrote Apocalyptic Dreams in three movements with no breaks to create a continuous unfolding of events.

"Throughout the first movement, the mood is very somber and mysterious, setting the tone for the rest of the symphony," Gephart says. "The second movement, Cataclysmic Events, sets into motion the chain of disasters found in the Book of Revelation. The trombone states a baleful motif which is very descriptive of the melodic material as you hear this outpouring of incredible sorrow and distress."

Gillingham brings the second movement to an end abruptly and caps the piece with an outpouring of joy depicting the return of the Messiah and the Messiah's kingdom to Earth. "Through the use of all sorts of mallet percussion and piano we get the sense of what the celestial sounds might be like when the Messiah returns," Gephart says.

Gephart says the symphony's final movement contains a reverent chorale, and the piece concludes with a "fanfare of trumpets and trombones."

"The entire movement ends joyfully with a celebratory tone," Gephart says. "It's as if he's saying we thought we were getting close to the end of time, but time will not end. Gillingham's music is not on a specific level. It covers the Book of Revelation with a broader scope. But one thing's for sure -- it's fascinating music and a blast to play."

- Program Note from Purdue News


State Ratings

  • Louisiana: IV
  • North Carolina: Masterworks
  • Ohio: OMEA High School Band C
  • Tennessee: VI
  • Virginia: VI


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • University of Kentucky (Lexington) Symphony Band (George R. Boulden, conductor) – 1 March 2020
  • University of Northwestern St. Paul (Roseville, Minn.) Symphonic Band (John S. Herlihy, conductor) - 3 May 2019
  • Metropolitan Wind Symphony (Lexington, Mass). (Louis J. Buckley, conductor) – 6 May 2018
  • University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music Wind Ensemble (Angela Holt, conductor) – 15 November 2016
  • University High School (Fresno Calif.) Wind Ensemble (Randall Cornelison, conductor) - 15 March 2013 (2013 Sutherland Wind Festival (Fresno, Calif.))
  • East Chapel Hill (N.C.) High School Symphonic Band - 12 March 2015
  • Central Washington University (Ellensburg) Symphonic Band (Mark Lane, conductor) - 4 March 2009

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works