Skip to main content
The PBS on-demand streaming service, WNED PBS Passport, is available in Canada! Learn More

Classical Snack, Opus 2403

Email share

Rêves (Dreams)

I spent a long time dreaming about musical greatness. As a child, I wanted to play the piano like Liberace. I saw him perform on The Mike Douglas Show once and thought WOW! That guy’s incredible! Later, I wanted to play like Vladamir Horowitz and believed that if I practiced hard enough, a latent musical genius would be revealed.

It’s disappointing when a dream doesn’t come true, but it can also be a relief. Now, I only have happy dreams about music. Recently, I dreamed that I wrote the old Randy Edelman/Barry Manilow song, Weekend In New England. I don’t know where that idea came from, but it was happy!

Lots of classical music is inspired by lust and love, but there’s plenty of music inspired by other things too, including religion, nature, the supernatural, and of course people’s hopes and dreams. Debussy’s Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune or Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun is inspired by Mallarmé’s sexy poem of the same name about a half-man/half-goat creature who dreams of curvy nymphs on a steamy summer’s day. The opening flute lick depicts that curviness with precision.

Berlioz wrote one of the most famous dream-inspired pieces of classical music – his Symphonie Fantastique or Fantastic Symphony. It depicts the dramatic story of an artist who, upset about his girlfriend, falls into a drug-induced sleep and dreams of hellish things like marching to a scaffold for beheading, and a witch’s sabbath.

One of my favorite dream-inspired works is Fauré’s Après un rêve or After A Dream. This is a work that reflects Fauré’s interest in symbolism and that space that exists just between being asleep and awake. WNED Classical Live On Stage Event 6 back in September 2023 was a program called After A Dream featuring BPO oboist Joshua Lauretig and harpist Hope Wilk. It’s a hauntingly beautiful program that you can watch anytime on the Buffalo Toronto Public Media YouTube channel.

One of my favorite quotes is “You have to dream before your dreams can come true.” I would add to that, “And even if your dreams don’t come true, you’re still okay just the way you are.”

Marty Wimmer

Marty Wimmer is your Midday Host on WNED Classical. He’s been with WNED since 1995. Recently retired from a long career as a public school music teacher, Marty is thrilled that he still gets to talk about music every day. He lives in Buffalo and is grateful for the many good friends he has in our local classical music community. You can reach Marty at

Marty Wimmer