Harrison's Dream

From Wind Repertory Project
Peter Graham

Peter Graham

General Info

Year: 2003
Duration: c. 14:20
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Alfred Publishing
Cost: Score and Parts - $200.00   |   Score Only - $50.00


Full Score
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
English Horn
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II (Small Handheld Bell)
B-flat Tenor Saxophone (Small Handheld Bell)
E-flat Baritone Saxophone (Small Handheld Bell)
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III-IV (Small Handheld Bell; I optional doubling Flugelhorn)
Horn in F I-II-III-IV (Small Handheld Bell)
Tenor Trombone I-II (Small Handheld Bell)
Bass Trombone (Small Handheld Bell)
Euphonium I-II (Small Handheld Bell)
Tuba (Small Handheld Bell)
Double Bass (Small Handheld Bell)
Percussion (4 players) including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bongo
  • Chimes
  • Glockenspiel
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tam-Tam
  • Temple Blocks (3)
  • Vibraphone
  • Water Gong (2)
  • Xylophone

Violoncello (optional)


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

This fascinating work for advanced bands by English composer Peter Graham brings to life the quest of a man to save lives. In the early 1700s there was still no reliable tool for navigation on seagoing vessels, resulting in the demise of many ships and their crews. English clockmaker John Harrison realized the gravity of the problem, and worked to develop a solution, today known as the concept of longitude. Much of this intriguing, programmatic composition echoes the mechanical sounds of a clockmaker's shop, punctuated with gripping "dream episodes" depicting the nightmares that plagued Harrison as he worked tirelessly to prevent more maritime disasters. The sounding of bells and tender melodic moments honor the lives lost as well as the importance of Harrison's work.

- Program Note from publisher

At 8:00 p.m. on October 22, 1707, HMS Association, the flagship of the Royal Navy, struck rocks off the Isles of Scilly with the loss of the entire crew. Throughout the rest of the evening, the remaining three ships in the fleet suffered the same fate. Only 26 of the original 1,647 crew members survived. This disaster was a direct result of an inability to calculate longitude, the most pressing scientific problem of the time. Parliament funded a prize of £20,000 to anyone whose method or device would solve the dilemma. For carpenter and self-taught clockmaker John Harrison, this was the beginning of a 40-year obsession to develop a chronometer capable of providing exact time on the high seas.

To calculate longitude it is necessary to know the time aboard ship and at the home port or place of known longitude, at precisely the same moment. Harrison’s dream was to build a clock so accurate that this calculation could be made, an audacious feat of engineering. This work reflects on aspects of this epic tale, brilliantly brought to life in Dava Sobel’s book Longitude. Much of the music is mechanistic in tone and is constructed along precise mathematical and metrical lines. The heart of the work, however, is human -- the realization that countless lives depended on a solution was one that haunted Harrison.

This highly rhythmic and technical composition was commissioned by the United States Air Force Band, Colonel Lowell Graham, Commander and Conductor, and was awarded the 2002 ABA/Ostwald Award for Original Composition.

- Program Notes by Jennifer Daffinee for the 2016 Texas All-State Symphonic Band concert program, 13 February 2016


  • ABA/Ostwald Award, 2002


State Ratings

  • Florida: VI
  • Louisiana: V
  • North Carolina: VI


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

Works for Winds by This Composer