Contre Qui, Rose

From Wind Repertory Project
Morten Lauridsen

Morten Lauridsen (trans. H. Robert Reynolds)

General Info

Year: 1993 / 2006
Duration: c. 5:00
Difficulty: III-1/2 (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Peer Music Classical
Cost: Score and Parts - $80.00   |   Score Only - $9.95


Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
B-flat Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
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-III
String Bass
Percussion, including:

  • Suspended Cymbal


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

In addition to his vast output of German poetry, Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926) composed nearly 400 poems in French. His poems on roses struck me as especially charming, filled with gorgeous lyricism, deftly crafted and elegant in their imagery.

Contre Qui, Rose is the second movement of my choral cycle Les Chansons des Roses, on poems by Rilke, a poet whose texts were also used for my Nocturnes and Chanson Éloignée. Rilke’s poetry is often multilayered and frequently ambiguous, forcing his reader to use his or her own imagination to grasp the text. This wonderful little poem poses a series of questions, and the corresponding musical phrases all end with unresolved harmonies, as the questions remain unanswered. We have all been in situations where we have given affection and not had it returned, where attempts at communication have been unsuccessful, met by resistance or defenses of some kind. A sense of quiet resignation begins the setting as the stark harmony and melodic line, filled with unresolved suspensions and appoggiaturas, gradually build to a nine-part chord on [“on the contrary”] and then the music folds back on itself, ending on a cluster that simply fades away as does the hope of understanding the reasons for the rose’s thorny protection.

Against whom, rose,

Have you assumed these thorns?
Is it your too fragile joy that forced you
to become this armed thing?

But from whom does it protect you,
this exaggerated defense?
How many enemies have I lifted from you
who do not fear it at all?
On the contrary, from summer to autumn
you wound the affection that is given you.

- Program note by the composer

Originally from the pen of renowned choral composer Morten Lauridsen, this warm and dignified setting by H. Robert Reynolds works particularly well for concert bands. Phrasing is of the utmost importance to fully reflect the beautiful harmonies. The eloquence of the piece is stunningly gorgeous from the first note to the last.

- Program note by publisher


State Ratings

  • Florida: IV
  • Georgia: VI
  • Kansas: IV
  • Louisiana: III
  • Maryland: IV
  • South Carolina: IV
  • Tennessee: IV
  • Texas: III. Complete


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Redwood High School (Visalia, Calif.) Wind Symphony (Jordan Ray, conductor) - 25 March 2023 (2023 Sutherland Wind Festival (Fresno, Calif.)
  • Winnipeg (Man., Can.) Wind Ensemble (Virginia Helmer, conductor) - 12 February 2023
  • University of Louisville (Ky.) Symphonic Band (Joseph Leites, conductor) - 10 April 2022
  • Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville Wind Ensemble and Edwardsville High School Symphonic Band (Rubén Darío Gómez, conductor) - 1 March 2022
  • Ohio University (Athens) Wind Symphony B (Kevin Neese, conductor) - 7 November 2021
  • Houghton (New York) College Wind Ensemble (Jack Smith, conductor) - 13 March 2021
  • University of Central Florida (Orlando) Symphonic Band (Tremon Kizer, conductor) – 16 September 2020
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison Wind Ensemble (Rose Beverly Taylor, conductor) – 12 March 2020
  • Baldwin-Wallace University (Berea, Ohio) Symphonic Band (Brendan Caldwell, conductor) – 28 February 2020
  • Rowan University (Glassboro, N.J.) Symphonic Band (Joseph Higgins, conductor) – 27 February 2020
  • University of Florida (Gainesville) Tuesday/Thursday Concert Band (Archie G. Birkner, IV, conductor) – 25 February 2020
  • Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Mallory Thompson, conductor) – 31 January 2020
  • Chesapeake Bay Wind Ensemble (Hampton, Va.) (William Garlette, conductor) - 14 December 2019
  • Andrews University (Berrien Springs, Mich.) Wind Symphony (Katia Nikolaus, conductor) – 13 April 2019
  • La Sierra University (Riverside, Calif.) Wind Ensemble (Giovanni Santos, conductor) – 9 March 2018
  • Central Michigan University (Mount Pleasant) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (John Campbell, conductor) – 19 February 2019
  • Central High School (Fresno, Calif.) Wind Ensemble (Leonard Ingrande, conductor) - 15 February 2019 (2019 CASMEC Conference, Fresno)
  • University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) Symphony Band (Erin Colleen Cooper, conductor) – 5 December 2018

Works for Winds by This Composer


  • Lauridsen, M., Reynolds, H. R. (2006). Contre Qui, Rose:For Concert Band. Peer Music: New York.
  • Speck, Frederick. "Contre Qui, Rose." In Teaching Music through Performance in Band. Volume 6, edit. & comp. by Richard Miles, 476-479. Chicago: GIA Publications, 2007.