Morpheus, completed in 1975, was composed for Carey Miller, to whom it is dedicated. Morpheus, the god of sleep and brother of death, was associated with dreams. It is this aspect of the god's character that is the basis for the work.
Morpheus is largely based upon the Sarabande from Bach's Suite in D Minor for Unaccompanied Violoncello.
© 1975 by Christopher Rouse
These program notes can be reproduced free of charge with the following credit:
Reprinted by kind permission of Christopher Rouse
"Rather than one or two main courses, the concert sponsored by the League of Composers-International Society for Contemporary Music...offered a smorgasbord of musical morsels...
the program concluded with Christopher Rouse's Morpheus, an inspired ramble on the Bach cello suites..."
"A parody work in the oldest, and best definition of the term: a rhapsodic weaving of threads extracted from Bach's D Minor Sarabande and an extended dialogue between the fragmented original and this new gloss upon it. The title derives from Greek myth Morpheus, son of Somnus and the god of dreams. I enjoyed the slowly unfolding (fancifully, 'unconscious') shapes and their relationships to the interpolated phrases from this most dreamy of Sarabandes, which is in no way discredited. Its language is subtly linear and sequential with firm tonal moorings, retaining too a coherence with Bach's caressive contours."