New Mexico Composers' Archive

Publication Date



Phillip, a neighbor at my composing and teaching retreat in northern New Mexico, was a self-taught artist and poet. Over coffee one morning, he recalled a dream he had the night before. The Southwestern Indians believe that “silver birds” (their name for ravens) are messengers from the gods. Phillip's dream was about a large raven that was protecting a boy who was lost in the forest. Phillip said he heard a melody in the dream, and he played it for me on his harmonica. I was struck by both its simplicity and its richness. The changing meters were not self-conscious efforts at “being different,” but rather they were organic uses of time. I immediately arranged it for strings, with youth orchestra in mind.


A work for student string orchestra

Associated Publications

A free sequenced performance of the piece can be heard and downloaded at


M Mauldin


youth orchestra, string orchestra, dream, ravens

Document Type

Musical Score


Duration: 2:37