And the mountains rising nowhere

From Wind Repertory Project
Joseph Schwantner

Joseph Schwantner

N.B. The title of this work is correctly written with ellipsis and lower case: ...and the mountains rising nowhere

General Info

Year: 1977
Duration: c. 12:30
Difficulty: VII (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Schott-Helicon Music
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $230.00   |   Score Only (print) - $55.00


Full Score (Score is in "Open" or "French" format)
Flute I-II-III-IV-V-VI (I, II, III, and IV doubling C Piccolo)
Oboe I-II-III-IV (III and IV doubling Eng. Horn; all doubling glass crystals)
Bassoon I-II-III-IV
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III-IV
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Bass Trombone
String Bass
Piano (amplified)
Percussion I–II-III-IV-V, including:

  • Bass Drums (3)
  • Bell Tree
  • Crotales
  • Glockenspiel I-II
  • Marimba
  • Suspended Cymbals (10)
  • Tam-tams (2)
  • Timbales
  • Timpani
  • Tom-Toms (3 sets of 4, 4, and 3)
  • Triangles (6)
  • Tubular Bells
  • Vibraphone I-II
  • Water Gongs (2)
  • Xylophone I-II

Players singing


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Commissioned by Donald Hunsberger and the Eastman Wind Ensemble with a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, ...and the mountains rising nowhere was Joseph Schwantner’s first composition for wind ensemble (and is part of a "trilogy" that includes From a Dark Millennium and In evening's stillness). The premiere was given in College Park, Maryland, at the 1977 National Conference of the College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA) by the Eastman Wind Ensemble, Hunsberger conducting. It is dedicated to children’s author Carol Adler; its title inspired by a line in her poem Arioso:

arioso bells
an afternoon sun blanked by rain
and the mountains rising nowhere
the sound returns
the sound and the silence chimes

- Program Note by Nikk Pilato

...and the mountains rising nowhere holds a very unique place in the repertoire for wind bands. It is scored for an extended orchestral wind section, percussionists who are responsible for 46 different instruments in the course of the piece, and amplified piano. In addition to all of the effects that Schwantner achieves with his percussion menagerie and conventional piano and wind sounds, he calls for unusual techniques in the winds such as singing, whistling, aleatoric effects, and even tuned glasses which the oboists play for more than half of the piece. These combine to make a mystical soundscape unlike anything that has come before or since. Composed in three large sections, ...and the mountains rising nowhere utilizes seven as a generative tool: the amount of lines in the poem, seven-note chords, groups of whistlers, and the tonal centers are even related by an interval of a diminished-seventh. He incorporates contrast by juxtaposing seven-note scales with eight-note scales. This results in a piece that bears a tonal center in a different sense than Bach or Mozart would.

- Program Note by Emily Brown for the State University of New York, Fredonia, Wind Ensemble concert program, 15 November 2017


State Ratings

  • Florida: VI   ---   (The Florida Bandmasters Association denotes this as "significant literature.")
  • Iowa: VI
  • South Carolina: VI
  • Texas: V


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • University of Texas (Austin) Wind Ensemble (Jerry Junkin, conductor) - 5 November 2023
  • DePaul University (Chicago, Ill.) Wind Ensemble (Erica Neidlinger, conductor) - 4 February 2023
  • Eastman School of Music (Rochester, N.Y.) Wind Ensemble (Mark Scatterday, conductor) - 12 December 2022
  • University of British Columbia (Vancouver) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Robert Taylor, conductor) - 19 November 2022
  • Shenandoah Conservatory (Winchester, Va.) Wind Ensemble (Timothy Robblee, conductor) - 7 May 2022
  • Ithaca (N.Y.) College Wind Ensemble (Christopher Hughes, conductor) – 3 March 2020
  • University of Miami (Coral Gables) Frost Wind Ensemble (Robert Carnochan, conductor) – 1 March 2020
  • University of Manitoba (Winnipeg, Man., Can.) Wind Ensemble (Jacquie Dawson, conductor) - 14 February 2020
  • Concordia College (Moorhead, Minn.) Band (Peter Haberman, conductor) – 24 November 2019
  • Gettysburg (Penn.) College Wind Symphony (Russell McCutcheon, conductor) – 23 November 2019
  • Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Mallory Thompson, conductor) – 15 November 2019
  • The Hartt Wind Ensemble (West Hartford, Conn.) (James Jackson, conductor) – 27 September 2019
  • Hope College (Holland, Mich.) Wind Ensemble (Gabe Southard, conductor) – 8 April 2019
  • James Madison University (Harrisonburg, Va.) Wind Symphony (Stephen Bolstad, conductor) – 23 February 2019
  • University of Minnesota (Minneapolis) Wind Ensemble (Emily Threinen, conductor) – 11 December 2018
  • University of Missouri, Kansas City, Wind Symphony (Steven D. Davis, conductor) – 6 December 2018
  • Shenandoah Conservatory (Winchester, Va.) Wind Ensemble (Timothy Robblee, conductor) – 3 November 2018
  • University of Kansas (Lawrence) Wind Ensemble (Nicholas P. Waldron, conductor) – 18 April 2018
  • Michigan State University (East Lansing) Wind Symphony (Kevin Sedatole, conductor) – 30 January 2018
  • State University of New York, Fredonia, Wind Ensemble (Paula Holcomb, conductor) – 15 November 2017

Works for Winds by This Composer


  • Folio, Cynthia Jo. (1985). “An analysis and comparison of four compositions by Joseph Schwantner: And the mountains rising nowhere; Wild Angels of the Open Hills; Aftertones of Infinity; and Apsrrows.” Ph.D. dissertation (Theory). Rochester, N.Y.: Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester.
  • Higbee, Scott. (2003). "Joseph Schwantner" from A Composer's Insight." Galesville, MD: Meredith Music.
  • Joseph Schwantner website
  • Locke, John R. (1981). “A performance analysis of Joseph Schwantner’s …and the mountains rising nowhere….” Winds Quarterly (Part 1) 2(Summer), 4-20; (Part 2) 2(Winter), 40-45.
  • Miles, Richard, compiler and editor. (2002). Teaching Music Through Performance in Band. Volume 2. Chicago: GIA Publications. pp. 529–540.
  • Pilato, Nikk. (2007). ”A conductor’s guide to the wind music of Joseph Schwantner with a transcription of the composer’s New Morning for the World.” Ph.D. dissertation. Tallahassee: Florida State University.
  • Renshaw, Jeffrey. (1991). Schwantner on Composition. Instrumentalist, 45(6)
  • Renshaw, Jeffrey. (1991, January). “Schwantner’s first work for wind ensemble.” The Instrumentalist 45(6). 30, 32, 35-36, 79.
  • Reynolds, H. Robert. (1978, September). “New music reviews.” The Instrumentalist 36, 96