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Music and Dreams

Ryan Smith looks at some famous composers from different eras who lifted ideas and music straight out of their dreams.

Music 1895 Gustav Klimt

Music 1895 Gustav Klimt Photo: Public Domain

Since ancient times, the arts have been inspired by dreams.

In this four part series, Ryan Smith looks at music and dreams from different historical, scientific and psychological standpoints. Jungian psycho-analyst Dr Chris Milton analyses the dreams of the composers, and amongst other things discusses why the devil visited Tartini in a nightmare and played him the violin.

Wagner, a self-proclaimed aural dream prophet, dreamed the primal undulating music that opens his epic Ring Cycle; Schumann’s dream music followed him into his waking hours; and contemporary composer Aphex Twin taught himself to become conscious inside his dreams in order to compose ambient music.

Music And Dreams is presented by Ryan Smith with production and engineering by Adrienne Baron and Phil Brownlee for RNZ Concert.