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Harrison's Dream

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Peter Graham

Peter Graham

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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
Eb Clarinet
Bb Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
Eb Alto Clarinet
Bb Bass Clarinet
Eb Alto Saxophone I-II (Small Handheld Bell)
Bb Tenor Saxophone (Small Handheld Bell)
Eb Baritone Saxophone (Small Handheld Bell)
Bb Trumpet I-II-III-IV (Small Handheld Bell)
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 I-II-III

(Percussion detail desired)

Violoncello (Small Handheld Bell) [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 by 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

Commercial Discography

Audio Links

State Ratings

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


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Texas 5A Symphonic Band (Kevin Geraldi, conductor) - 15 February 2020 (2020 TMEA Conference, San Antonio)
  • University of North Carolina, Greensboro, Wind Ensemble (Kevin M. Geraldi, conductor) – 21 November 2019
  • College-Conservatory of Music (Cincinnati, Ohio) Wind Ensemble (Thomas Gamboa, conductor) – 28 March 2019
  • Indiana University (Bloomington) Wind Ensemble (Rodney Dorsey, conductor) – 26 March 2019
  • University of Utah (Salt Lake City) Wind Ensemble (Eric LaPrade, conductor) – 1 November 2018
  • Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, Md.) Peabody Wind Ensemble (Harland D. Parker, conductor) – 4 November 2017
  • Texas All-State High School Symphonic Band (Michael Haithcock, conductor) - 13 February 2015 (2016 TMEA Conference, San Antonio)
  • University of Michigan Symphony Band (Joshua Roach, conductor) – 2 October 2015
  • Matthayom Sangkeet Witthaya Symphonic Wind Band (Thailand) - 2013
  • Indiana Wind Symphony (Charles Conrad, conductor) April 22, 2017 (The Palladium, Carmel, IN)
  • Green Hope High School Wind Ensemble (Brian Myers, conductor) - 21 March 2018

Works for Winds by this Composer