Awake, You Sleepers!
Subtitle: For Trumpet & Wind Ensemble
Solo C Trumpet
Flute I-II (II doubling Alto Flute)
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III (I doubling E-flat Soprano Clarinet)
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Piano (doubling Celesta)
Percussion I-II-III-IV, including:
- Bass Drum
- Rainstick (large)
- Snare Drum
- Suspended Cymbal
- Tom-toms (4)
None discovered thus far.
The ancient instrument known as the shofar, or ram's horn, has a special place in the Jewish tradition. Legend recounts that its sound was heard at the giving of the Ten Commandments at Mt. Sinai, the tumbling walls of Jericho, as a call for battle, and that its sound will be heard to herald a messianic era. The instrument has survived through post-Biblical and contemporary times and features prominently in the liturgy of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.
The blowing of the shofar in the Rosh Hashanah service is a call for repentance, symbolically awakening the sleeper from a moral and spiritual slumber. Each of the three movements of Awake, You Sleepers! is based on one of the three calls associated with the blowing of the shofar. Tekiah is a long note rising in pitch; shevarim is three shorter notes; and teruah is a long repeated staccato blast. Each movement is also preceded by well-known verses from the Rosh Hashanah liturgy. Much of the music for Awake, You Sleepers! is based on Rosh Hashanah motives and melodies that occur in the German/East-European musical tradition.
I Tekiah. “ . . . as morning dawned, there was thunder and lightning and a dense cloud over the mountain; there was a loud shofar blast, and all the people in the camp trembled.” (Exodus 19:16)
II Shevarim. “The great shofar is sounded, and a still small voice is heard.” (excerpt of the Unetaneh tokef prayer, attributed to Rabbi Amnon of Mainz)
III Teruah. "Awake you sleepers! Awake from your sleep! You slumberers, awake from your slumber!” (Maimonides, Hilkhot Teshuvah III. 4)
This piece was made possible by a grant from the Fromm Music Foundation.
- Program Note from score
None discovered thus far.
To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project
- United States Marine Band (Washington, D.C.) (Michael Colburn, conductor; John Hagstrom, trumpet) – 16 December 2010 (2010 Midwest Clinic)
- Royal Northern College of Music (Manchester, Eng.) Wind Orchestra (Tim Reynish, conductor; John Hagstrom, trumpet) – 2 July 2002 *Premiere Performance*
Works for Winds by This Composer
- Awake, You Sleepers! (2002)
- The Closing of the Gates (2009)
- Fearsome Critters (2012)
- Hadra (2004)
- Katanya (2013)
- One for All (1995)
- We Tread and Go (2010)
- Heritage Encyclopedia of Band Music. "Laurence Bitensky." Accessed 23 June 2021
- Laurence Bitensky website Accessed 23 June 2021
- Perusal score