Nature's Way

From Wind Repertory Project
Gunther Schuller

Gunther Schuller

General Info

Year: 2006
Duration: c. 6:00
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: BandQuest
Cost: Score and Parts - $75.00   |   Score - $7.50


Full Score
Flute I-II-III
Oboe I-II
English Horn
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet I-II
B-flat Bass Clarinet I-II
Bassoon I-II-III
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
Tenor Saxophone I-II
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III-IV-V-VI-VII-VIII
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Tuba I-II
String Bass
Percussion I-II-III-IV-V-VI, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Crotales
  • Cymbals (small, medium, and large suspended)
  • Glockenspiel
  • Gongs (Tam-tam, small, medium, large)
  • Marimba
  • Snare Drum
  • Temple Blocks
  • Timpani
  • Tom-Toms (medium)
  • Triangle (small, medium, and large)
  • Tubular Bells
  • Vibraphone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Nature's Way for middle-level band (or wind ensemble) was commissioned by BandQuest, a commissioning project initiated by the American Composers Forum. The basic idea was for major composers of national reputation to write works of high quality, that would take into consideration the (still comparatively limited) intermediate levels of musical development -- both technical and conceptual -- of such typical high school ensembles.

I eagerly accepted the commission and the creative/compositional challenges implied thereby, that is, to rein in my creative imagination to some extent and limit the technical/conceptual demands to a more moderate level than is to be found in the dozen or so other works for band (or wind ensemble) that I had previously composed. Nature's Way in no way represents a compromise of my personal style (basically atonal, or highly chromatic), nor my long-held concepts of form, continuity, texture, and instrumentation, inherent in all my music.

I was particularly interested in exploring with the young players (and their band directors) certain "modern" musical ideas and concepts, first initiated in the early twentieth century. One of these is the idea of sudden abrupt changes (or interruptions) in continuity and form, the opposite of the historically longstanding approach to form, in which one moves in a transitional, gradual way from one section of music to another, through a ritard or accelerando, a crescendo or diminuendo, or through a graduated change in instrumentation and texture, and the like. (This earlier approach to form and continuity is, of course, also used in Nature's Way .)

Many times the music moves from one mood, character and sound to another, but very suddenly and unpredictably, usually then returning to the previous mood and texture just as abruptly. These continuity interruptions are like brief verbal or written inserts. The intent here is not to be 'disturbing' or 'illogically disruptive,' but rather -- and this is the point and the challenge -- as smooth and functional as possible, just perhaps 'surprising.' It is like a carpenter's inlay, smooth and functional. Another rather unconventional form principle explored in Nature's Way is the palindromic form.

In general I have taken a more individualized 'chamber music' approach in Nature's Way, emphasizing the idea that almost every player is independently responsible for his or her part, rather than the (educationally not necessarily very effective) 'massed sound' concept.

Nature's Way was composed in the spring of 2006, and first performed in April of that year, conducted by the composer and played by the Lexington, Mass. high school band, Jeffrey Leonard, director.

- Program Note by Gunther Schuller


(Needed - please join the WRP if you can help.)

State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

Works for Winds by This Composer


  • Schuller, G. (2006). Nature's Way [score]. American Composers Forum: St. Paul, Minn.