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Sleep

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Eric Whitacre

Eric Whitacre


General Info

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


Instrumentation

Full Score
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bb Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
Bb Bass Clarinet I-II
Bassoon
Alto Saxophone I-II
Tenor Saxophone
Baritone Saxophone
Trumpet (in Bb) I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II
Bass Trombone
Euphonium I-II
Tuba I-II
Timpani
Percussion I-II, including:

  • Cymbals (crash and suspended)
  • Bass Drum
  • Tubular Bells
  • Vibraphone
  • Marimba

Optional SATB Chorus


Errata

*Bass Clarinet I, m. 44, 2nd half note E-flat should be F / m. 47, 2nd half note E-flat should be F

*Euphonium, m. 44, 2nd half note D should be E-flat / m. 47, 2nd half note D should be E-flat / m. 53, 1st quarter note should be concert A-flat; 2nd quarter note concert F / m. 56, 1st quarter note should be concert A-flat; 2nd 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


Commercial Discography


State Ratings

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


Performances

To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • 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
  • Idaho State University (Pocatello) Wind Ensemble (Patrick Brooks, conductor) – 19 April 2019
  • Texas Christian University (Fort Worth) Symphonic Band (Brian Youngblood, conductor) – 18 April 2019
  • Wartburg College (Waverly, Iowa) Wind Ensemble (Craig A. Hancock, conductor) – 14 April 2019
  • North Hills High School (Pittsburgh, Penn.) Wind Ensemble (Len Lavelle, conductor) - 4 April 2019
  • Clovis (Calif.) West High School Wind Symphony (Bryan Chesi, conductor) -15 March 2019 (2019 Sutherland Wind Festival (Fresno, Calif.)
  • Kent State (Ohio) Symphony Band (John Franklin, conductor) – 1 March 2019
  • Ithaca (N.Y.) College Wind Symphony (Sean Linfors, conductor) – 12 December 2018
  • Duke University (Durham, N.C.) Wind Symphony (Verena Mösenbichler-Bryant, conductor) – 15 November 2018


Works for Winds by this Composer


Resources