From Wind Repertory Project
Eric Whitacre

Eric Whitacre

General Info

Year: 2002
Duration: c. 5:00
Difficulty: III-1/2 (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Carpe Ranam, distributed by Hal Leonard
Cost: Score and Parts - $95.00   |   Score - $25.00


Full Score
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet I-II
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
Euphonium I-II
Tuba I-II
Percussion I-II, including:

  • Crash Cymbals
  • Bass Drum
  • Marimba
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tubular Bells
  • Vibraphone

SATB Chorus (optional)


In Parts:

  • Bass Clarinet I, m.44, second half note: E-flat should be F.
  • Bass Clarinet I, m.47, second half note: E-flat should be F.
  • Euphonium, m.44, second half note: D should be E-flat.
  • Euphonium, m.47, second half note: D should be E-flat.
  • Euphonium, m.53, 1st quarter note: Should be concert A-flat; second quarter note concert F.
  • Euphonium, m.56, 1st quarter note: Should be concert A-flat; second quarter note concert F.

Program Notes

Sleep began its life as an a-capella choral setting, with a magnificent original poem by Charles Anthony Silvestri. The choral-like nature and warm harmonies seemed to call out for the simple and plaintive sound of the winds, and I thought that it might make a gorgeous addition ot the wind symphony repertoire. Sleep can be performed as a work for band, or band and mixed chorus.

- Program Note from wind score

In the winter of 1999, Ms. Julia Armstrong, a lawyer and professional mezzo-soprano living in Austin, Texas, contacted me. She wanted to commission a choral work from me to be premiered by the Austin Pro Chorus (Kinley Lange, conductor), a terrific chorus with whom she regularly performed.

The circumstances around the commission were amazing. She wanted to commission the piece in memory of her parents, who had died within weeks of each other after more than fifty years of marriage; and she wanted me to set her favorite poem, Robert Frost's immortal "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening". I was deeply moved by the spirit and her request, and agreed to take on the commission.

I took my time with the piece, crafting it note by note until I felt that it was exactly the way I wanted it. The poem is perfect, truly a gem, and my general approach was to try to get out of the way of the words, and let them work their magic. We premiered the work in Austin, October 2000, and it was well received. Rene Clausen gave Stopping By Woods a glorious performance at the ACDA National Convention in the spring of 2001, and soon after I began receiving hundreds of letters, emails and phone calls from conductors trying to get ahold of the work.

And here was my tragic mistake: I never secured permission to use the poem. Robert Frost's poetry has been under tight control from his estate since his death, and until a few years ago only Randall Thompson (Frostiana) had been given permission to set his poetry. In 1997, out of the blue, the estate released a number of titles, and at least twenty composers set and published Stopping by Woods for chorus. When I looked on line and saw all of these new and different settings, I naturally (and naively) assumed that it was open to anyone. Little did I know that, just months before, the Robert Frost Estate had taken the decision to deny ANY use of the poem, ostensibly because of this plethora of new settings.

After a LONG battle of legalities back and forth, the Estate of Robert Frost and their publisher, Henry Holt Inc., sternly and formally forbade me to use the poem for publication or performance until the poem would become public domain in 2038.

I was crushed. The piece was dead, and would sit under my bed for the next 37 years as a result of rulings by heirs and lawyers. After many discussion with my wife, I decided that I would ask my friend and brilliant poet Charles Anthony Silvestri (Leonardo Dreams of His Flying Machine, Lux Aurumque) to set new words to the music I had already written. This was an enormous task, because I was asking him to not only write a poem that had the exact structure of the Frost poem, but that it would even incorporate key words from Stopping By Woods, like 'sleep'. Tony wrote an absolutely exquisite poem, finding a completely different (but equally beautiful) message in the music I had already written.

And there it is. My setting of Robert Frost's Stopping By Woods no longer exists. I am supremely proud of this new work, and my only regret in all of this was that I was way too innocent in my assumption that lawyers and heirs would understand something as simple and delicate as the choral art.

- Program Notes by composer


State Ratings

  • Georgia: V
  • Louisiana: IV
  • Maryland: IV
  • North Carolina: V
  • South Carolina: IV
  • Texas: IV


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Texas All-State Concert Band (Rebecca Phillips, conductor) – 10 February 2024 (2024 TMEA Conference, San Antonio)
  • Cuesta Wind Ensemble (San Luis Obispo, Calif.) (Jennifer Martin, conductor) – December 6, 2023
  • University of Kentucky (Lexington) Symphony Band (Shayna Stahl, conductor) - 17 September 2023
  • South Panola High School (Batesville, Miss.) Wind Ensemble (Richard Shirey, conductor) - 12 May 2023
  • Hempfield Symphonic Band (Landisville, Penn.) (Matthew Ceresini, conductor) - 17 March 2023
  • Indiana University (Bloomington) Concert Band (Jason S. Nam, conductor) – 8 November 2022
  • 2022 CBDNA North Central Intercollegiate Band (Madison, Wisc.) (Rebecca Phillips, conductor) – 8 April 2022 (CBDNA 2022 North Central Conference, Madison, Wisc.)
  • University of Maine (Orono) Symphonic Band (Joshua Champagne, conductor) - 22 April 2021
  • Clovis (Calif.) East High School Wind Ensemble (Marco Mellone, conductor) - 6 March 2020
  • Truman State University (Kirksville, Mo.) Wind Symphony II (Jennifer Rubin, conductor) – 4 March 2020
  • Western Illinois University (Macomb) Concert Band (Robert Meunier, conductor) – 22 February 2020
  • University of Kansas (Lawrence) Prairie Winds (Martin Bergee, conductor) – 2 February 2020
  • Castleton (Vt.) University Wind Ensemble (Joshua Thompson, conductor) – 10 December 2019
  • Skidmore Community Concert Band (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.) (Milton Lee, conductor; Christian Stewart, soprano saxophone) – 5 December 2019
  • Franklin High School (Elk Grove, Calif.) Wind Ensemble (Matt Mackey, conductor) - 4 December 2019
  • Ohio Wesleyan University (Delaware, O.) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Richard Edwards, conductor) – 21 November 2019
  • Oregon State University (Corvallis) Wind Ensemble (Erik Leung, conductor) – 21 November 2019
  • University of Louisiana Lafayette Wind Ensemble (William Hochkeppel, conductor) – 23 October 2019
  • Virginia Tech (Blacksburg) Symphony Band (Chad Reep, conductor) – 13 October 2019
  • Temple University (Philadelphia, Penn.) Wind Symphony (Patricia Cornett, conductor) – 27 September 2019
  • Interlochen Center for the Arts (Michigan) Adult Band Camp (Tom Riccobono, conductor) - 11 August 2019
  • Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Mallory Thompson, conductor) – 9 June 2019
  • University of Minnesota (Minneapolis) Gold Campus Band (Cory Near, conductor) – 2 May 2019

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

  • The Seal Lullaby (Flex instrumentation) (arr. Ambrose) (2011/2021)
  • Sing Gently (Flex instrumentation) (arr. Mösenbichler-Bryant) (2020/2021)

All Wind Works