It perched for Vespers nine

From Wind Repertory Project
Joel Puckett

Joel Puckett

General Info

Year: 2008
Duration: c. 10:15
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Joel Puckett
Cost: Score and Parts - Contact the composer


Full Score
Flute I-II-III
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III (div.)
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
Trombone I-II
Bass Trombone
Percussion I-II-III-IV, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Marimba
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbals (2: large)
  • Tambourine
  • Tom-Toms (3)
  • Vibraphone
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

My wife’s grandfather was an extraordinary man. He was an immigrant who walked around quoting poetry and whistling tunes from his childhood in Scotland. Like a character from a movie, he always seemed to pull just the right verse for the occasion.

In the spring of 2007, he fell into a coma following a severe stroke. After weeks of being in this state, he woke and said:

In mist or cloud…

…On mast or shroud
It Perched for Vespers nine.
Whiles all the night…
…Through fog-smoke white

Glimmered the white moon-shine.

These were the final words of a man who always chose the right words. Within the hour he was gone.

Not recognizing the verse, I immediately ran to Google to decipher what message the old man could have been delivering.

The verse is from the famous poem of condemnation and redemption,The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. The poem is the story of a mariner condemned to travel the earth telling his tale of hubris and punishment in search of redemption. The mariner shot an albatross for no other reason than he felt like it and then suffered the wrath of both death and living-death for his gall.

The verse my wife’s grandfather quoted is the verse immediately before the one containing the ill-fated murder of the albatross: as they say, the calm before the coming storm.

My work entitled It perched for Vespers nine on a surface level engages the imagery from the verse itself. But at the emotional core of the work is my trying to work out what my wife’s Pop Pop might have been trying to tell us about what awaits us “in mist or cloud.”

It perched for Vespers nine was commissioned by the American Bandmasters Association and the University of Florida. The work was premiered by the Michigan State Wind Ensemble with Matt Smith conducting, and the East Coast premiere was given by the University of Florida Wind Ensemble with David Waybright conducting.

- Program notes by composer

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is the longest major poem by the English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, written in 1797–98 and published in 1798 in the first edition of Lyrical Ballads. Along with other poems in Lyrical Ballads, it is often considered a signal shift to modern poetry and the beginning of British Romantic literature.

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner recounts the experiences of a sailor who has returned from a long sea voyage. The mariner stops a man who is on his way to a wedding ceremony and begins to narrate a story. The wedding-guest's reaction turns from bemusement to impatience to fear to fascination as the mariner's story progresses, as can be seen in the language style: Coleridge uses narrative techniques such as personification and repetition to create a sense of danger, the supernatural, or serenity, depending on the mood in different parts of the poem.

- Program Note from Wikipedia


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Virginia Tech (Blacksburg) Wind Ensemble (Derek Shapiro, conductor) - 23 February 2023
  • University of Nebraska (Lincoln) Wind Ensemble (Carolyn Barber, conductor) - 1 December 2021
  • Peabody Wind Ensemble (Baltimore, Md.) (Patrick Towey, conductor) - 2 October 2021
  • University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) Concert Band (Courtney Snyder, conductor) – 2 October 2019
  • Texas Tech University (Lubbock) Symphonic Band (Eric Allen, conductor) – 1 May 2018
  • Messiah College (Mechanicsburg, Penn.) Wind Ensemble (James Colonna, conductor) - 3 November 2017
  • University of Minnesota (Minneapolis) Wind Ensemble (Emily Threinen, conductor) – 20 October 2017
  • Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, Md.) Peabody Wind Ensemble (Harland D. Parker, conductor) – 5 October 2017
  • University of Florida (Gainesville) Wind Symphony (David Waybright, conductor)] – 2 February 2017
  • University of Michigan Concert Band (Courtney Snyder, conductor) - 24 November 2014
  • California State Long Beach Wind Symphony (John Carnahan, conductor) - 11 October 2012
  • Utah Valley University (Orem) Wind Symphony (James Colonna, conductor) – 13 March 2012 (CBDNA 2012 Western/Northwestern Division Conference, Reno, Nev.)
  • University of North Carolina at Greensboro Wind Ensemble (Kevin M. Geraldi, conductor) – 27 March 2009 (CBDNA 2009 National Conference, Austin, Tx.)

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