11 Songs, 42 Minutes

TITLE TIME
3:40
3:57
3:37
2:51
5:53
3:40
4:44
5:08
1:50
4:04
2:57

Ratings and Reviews

From MainlyPiano

KathyPiano7

One of the few positive effects of the unsettled nature of our country right now is that some of our artists are stepping forward and celebrating the countless contributions immigrants have made to the American society and culture. "We Have Only Come To Dream" is one such project. Stunning in its power and beauty, Terry Lee Nichols and Rebekah Eden have created a musical masterpiece that overflows with passion, cinematic vividness, and strength.

The CD includes a twelve-page booklet that explains the historical origins of each piece plus a poem by Philip Spevak that tells each story in a less formal setting. (The booklet is also available online.) The album chronicles the migration to and exploration of The Americas from 50,000 years ago to the founding of the US National Park System. The historical research involved is daunting, but then to take all of that material and create such a breath-taking musical journey with it is truly remarkable. Terry Lee Nichols composed and performed the music, most of which features the piano as well as orchestration. Rebekah Eden did the vocal arrangements and performances on all but one of the ten tracks; Kehembe Eichelberger performed the vocals on one. (Vocals are mostly wordless vocalizations.) Flautist Sherry Finzer also appears on one track.

"We Have Only Come To Dream" begins with “Phantasmagorical Voyage,” a sonic rendering of the earliest voyage to the Americas, now thought to have been by Australian aborigines some 50,000 years ago. It begins as a gentle and dreamy piano solo and adds orchestration and vocalization a little bit at a time, building to a powerful and triumphant end. “The Anasazi” tells of one of the earliest advanced civilizations who inhabited the Four Corners area of the American Southwest. This tribute to “the ancient ones” is haunting and rhythmic with piano, vocals and some powerful orchestration. The title track honors the Aztecs who eventually built an empire in Mexico. Piano, vocals, light percussion and strings create a beautiful, peaceful scene punctuated occasionally by a dramatic orchestral burst. “1492” is a favorite, and of course, chronicles Columbus’ voyage from Spain. A powerful piece for orchestra and piano, images of dark, stormy seas and boats being tossed by the waves come to mind each time I hear it. “Conquistadors” refers to the leaders in the Spanish conquest of America, and especially to Cortes and Pizarro. Dark and mysterious, there is poignance about this piece that seems to tell of the hardships of the long voyage as well as the loss of the conquered societies. “The Courier” ups the drama and intensity as it describes the Enlightenment philosophy and the colonies’ declaration of independence from Britain. “The River of Life” is calm and sparkling with the sound of flowing water and birds calling in the background - beautiful and another favorite. “The 19th Century Refugee Crisis” refers to the arrival of the Irish immigrants and includes a lovely arrangement of the traditional folk song “Down By the Salley Gardens” sung by Eden. “A House Divided” features a very moving vocal performance by Kehembe Eichelberger singing a traditional slave freedom song “Many Thousand Gone.” “The Last Cowboy” refers to the twenty-year “golden age” of the cowboys from 1866-1886 in a very “Americana” style that includes gunfire and a cowboy asking a bartender for “a stiff one.” “Canyon Sunset” features Sherry Finzer’s beautiful flute playing and celebrates the beginnings of our National Park system in the mid-1800’s. Elegant yet majestic, it’s a moving and uplifting close to an excellent album.

"We Have Only Come To Dream" is an amazing musical achievement and one that I very highly recommend. Bravo!!!

An enchantingly epic sonic voyage

CandiceMichelle1

We Have Only Come to Dream is the collaborative project of Terry Lee Nichols and Rebekah Eden. Subtitled A Resonance of Human Migration to the Americas, the album moves through eleven enthralling compositions, as the listener is welcomed on a journey that begins with the first people who populated the New World – eventually leading up to the foundations of its modern civilization. Credited as the album’s producer, composer, orchestrator, pianist and virtual instruments performer, Nichols masterfully integrates styles of cinematic, new age and neoclassical music. Drawing much of his inspiration from a range of notably accomplished film score and contemporary classical composers, his own works are often likewise thematically grand-scale. Joining Nichols on this album is Rebekah Eden who provides exceptional vocal arrangements throughout – her soprano singing mostly wordless and semi-veiled, as it frequently ascends to ethereal heights. Additionally, the album’s liner notes include a descriptive overview of the individual pieces, along with an accompanying poem written by Philip Spevak for each.

The opening piece, “Phantasmagorical Voyage”, is inspired by the earliest known voyages from the descendants of Australian aborigines and Melanesians to the Americas thousands of years ago. Seemingly conveying a mysterious arrival from the mists of the seas, its initially tip-toeing introduction soon blossoms into a mesmerizingly cascading piano riff merged with Rebekah’s layered, wordless vocals. Affectively tender and sweepingly cinematic, the piece essentially signals the beginning of great immeasurable potential that lies ahead.

Named for one of the earliest advanced civilizations of North America, “The Ansasazi” (meaning “Ancient Ones”) is characterized by a moving blend of classical and contemporary motifs accentuated by glistening chimes, native-style flute and Rebekah’s dreamy vocals soaring above a majestic soundscape. Following next is the title piece, “We Have Only Come to Dream” , which draws its inspiration from the Aztec culture of Mexico that was once part of the greater Mesoamerican civilizations (that also included the Maya). Rainforest sounds comprised of waterfalls, birds and insects form the backdrop to gentle piano notes – eventually evolving into a symphonic motif in tandem with angelic vocals. The ensuing “1492” denotes the year of the first Spanish-based transatlantic maritime expedition led by Christopher Columbus. Pristine, dramatic and darker-toned, the composition brings-to-mind the iconic 1992 soundtrack, 1492: Conquest of Paradise by Vangelis, which accompanied director Ridley Scott’s movie of the same name. The storyline continues with “Conquistadors”, of which also sounds somewhat Vangelis-esque, as the piece seemingly evokes powerfully moving images in slow-motion. Named for the Spanish conquerors of the Americas whose genetic seeds would eventually merge with that of many Native populations, this turning point in history has always been of enduring interest to me – perhaps because it’s so integral to my own.

Inspired by the enlightenment philosophy held by many leading colonists of North America, as well as their ultimate declaration of independence from Britain, “The Courier” engages its listener with a dynamic arrangement of synthesizers and symphony. Further expressing the gist of this passage is an accompanying poem titled Paul Revere’s Ride. The next piece, “The River of Life”, is inspired by the subsequent influx of many more European arrivals and their westwards expansions. Tonally bright and optimistic, it seemingly feels like that of watching a time-lapse video depicting a long passage of time.

Aptly imbued with a Celtic touch, “The 19th Century Refugee Crisis” is named so in reference to the large wave of Irish migrations to the United States. Denoting how the Irish once endured hardship, discrimination and prejudice in their newfound American homeland, Rebekah conveys this motif with a lovely melody sung in English, which boasts a pleasing reminiscence to the music of Loreena McKennitt. Likewise, “A House Divided” is a poignantly heartfelt composition inspired by the bondage and eventual emancipation of Africans who were brought to the New World. Beginning with a vocal performance by Kehembe Eichelberger singing the lyrics of a traditional slave freedom song – the piece’s contemplative atmosphere of sorrow injected with glimmers of hope is perfectly enhanced by its affecting cello and piano melody.

“The Last Cowboy” is named for the vaquero traditions that developed in Mexico and the American southwest from methodology brought to that region from Spain. The vasquero eventually became the foundation for the North American cowboy – and so this piece is captivatingly enhanced by the sounds of running horses, saloon music and human chatter along its course. Finally arriving at “Canyon Sunset”, this passage is aptly dedicated to the national parks across the U.S. Showcasing an enchanting flute performance by Sherry Finzer, the piece seemingly conjures an aerial overview of breathtaking landscape, in a most fitting conclusion to a riveting journey.

As a longtime enthusiast of history, geography and genealogy related subjects, it was easy to become immersed in this truly epic sonic voyage. Listening to the pieces while reading the accompanying narratives and poems sometimes felt like witnessing the often complex and fascinating stories of my own ancestral melting pot unfold. Destined to be one of this year’s most highly-praised releases, numerous fans of period drama film scores – particularly by the likes of James Horner and John Barry – are especially encouraged to take note of this musical achievement!

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