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When Jesus Wept

From Wind Repertory Project
William Schuman

William Schuman

This work is the second movement of Schuman's "New England Triptych."

Subtitle: Prelude for Band

General Info

Year: 1956 / 1959
Duration: 5:10
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Theodore Presser
Cost: Score and Parts - $75.00   |   Oversize Full Score Only - $35.00   |   Full Score Only - $9.00   |   Condensed Score Only - $5.00


Full Score
Eb Soprano Clarinet
Bb Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
Eb Alto Clarinet
Bb Bass Clarinet
Alto Saxophone I-II
Tenor Saxophone
Baritone Saxophone
Bass Saxophone
Cornet (in Bb) I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Euphonium I-II
Double Bass
Percussion, including:

  • Field Drum


  • In the score, rehearsal number 75 is incorrectly placed on m. 74, and should be one measure further ahead.
  • In the score, rehearsal number 95 is incorrectly placed on m. 94, and should be one measure further ahead.

Program Notes

As written for orchestra, the second movement, When Jesus Wept, begins with a solo by bassoon and soon after the bassoon is accompanied by oboe. Schuman's reworking of the composition for concert band uses solo euphonium and trumpet instead of the bassoon and oboe. When Jesus Wept is in the form of a round and uses Billings's music in its original form.

When Jesus wept, the falling tear

in mercy flowed beyond all bound;
when Jesus mourned, a trembling fear

seized all the guilty world around.

This composition is a transcription by the composer from his New England Triptych: Three Pieces for Orchestra after William Billings, of which When Jesus Wept is the second movement. The composer wrote the following program note:

“William Billings (1746-1800) is a major figure in the history of American music. The works of this dynamic composer capture the spirit of sinewy ruggedness, deep religiosity, and patriotic fervor that we associate with the Revolutionary period. Despite the undeniable crudities and technical shortcomings of his music, its appeal even today is forceful and moving. I am not alone among American composers who feel an identity with Billings, and it is this sense of identity that accounts for my use of his music as a point of departure. New England Triptych does not constitute a fantasy on themes of Billings, nor variations on his themes, but rather a fusion of styles and musical language.”

Schuman used the text of the hymn in its original round form, and the movement functions as the central prelude to the third movement, Chester. The composition calls for controlled, sensitive, legato playing from the ensemble. The solo euphonium and trumpet parts are demanding in range, color, and intonation. When performed in succession, the composer wished for movements two and three to be performed virtually attacca.

- Program Notes by Jennifer Daffinee for the 2016 Texas All-State 5A Symphonic Band concert program, 13 February 2016

Commercial Discography

State Ratings

  • Alabama: Class A
  • California: V, Class A
  • Florida: V
  • Georgia: VI
  • Louisiana: V
  • Massachusetts: V
  • Michigan: AA
  • Mississippi: IV-A, V-A, VI-A
  • New York: V
  • Oklahoma: V-A
  • South Carolina: VI
  • Texas: V. Complete


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Oak Ridge (Tenn.) Community Band (Walt Otey, conductor) – 6 October 2019
  • Ohio University (Athens) Wind Symphony (William Talley, conductor) – 24 September 2019
  • University of Virginia (Charlottesville) Wind Ensemble (William Pease, conductor) – 28 April 2019
  • Penn State University (University Park) Symphonic Band (Dennis Glocke, conductor) – 25 April 2019
  • Hope College (Holland, Mich.) Wind Ensemble (Gabe Southard, conductor) – 8 April 2019
  • Southern Adventist University (Collegedale, Tenn.) Wind Symphony (Ken Parsons, conductor) – 7 April 2019
  • La Sierra University (Riverside, Calif.) Wind Ensemble (Giovanni Santos, conductor) – 9 March 2018
  • Appalachian State University (Boone, N.C.) Symphony Band (Donald Peach, conductor) – 29 November 2018
  • Brigham Young University (Provo, Utah) Symphonic Band (Kirk Saville, conductor) – 7 November 2018
  • Clovis North High School (Clovis, Calif.) Wind Ensemble (David Lesser, conductor) – 17 October 2018
  • Eastman School of Music (Rochester, N.Y.) Wind Orchestra (Mark Scatterday, conductor) – 23 September 2018
  • California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Wind Orchestra (Christopher J. Woodruff, conductor) – 2 June 2018
  • Virginia Grand Military Band (Alexandria) (Loras John Schissel, conductor) - 26 May 2018
  • Northshore Concert Band (Evanston, Ill.) (Mallory Thompson, conductor) - 15 April 2018
  • Greenwich (Conn.) High School Wind Ensemble (John Yoon, conductor) – 3 April 2018
  • Northshore Concert Band (Evanston, Ill.) (Mallory Thompson, conductor) - 24 March 2018
  • University of Wisconsin-Parkside Wind Ensemble (Laura Rexroth, conductor) – 8 March 2018
  • State University of New York, Fredonia, Wind Symphony (Donna Dolson, conductor) – 28 February 2018
  • Harding University (Searcy, Ark.) Wind Ensemble (Mike Chance, conductor) – 22 February 2018
  • University of Texas, Arlington, Wind Symphony (Douglas Stotter, conductor) – 20 October 2017
  • University of North Texas (Denton) Wind Ensemble (Nicholas E. Williams, conductor) – 26 September 2017

Works for Winds by this Composer


  • Battisti, Frank. (1990, January-February). “William Schuman: 'When Jesus Wept'.” BD Guide 4(3), 13–15. Reprinted in Performance Study Guides of Essential Works for Band, edited by Kenneth L. Neidig. Galesville, Md.: Meredith Music Publications, 2009. pp. 51–53.
  • Magie, Gregory Alden. (1966) “Conducting William Schuman’s New England Triptych.” D.M.A. dissertation. Los Angeles: University of California.
  • Pearlmutter, Alan, and Jacques Voois. (1987, Spring-Summer). “William Schuman’s ‘New England Triptych’ and the music of William Billings.” Journal of the Conductor’s Guild 8(2 & 3), 48-57.
  • William Schuman website.