How the Old Mountains Drip with Sunset

From Wind Repertory Project
Troy Armstrong

Troy Armstrong

General Info

Year: 2012
Duration: c. 8:30
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Troy Armstrong
Cost: Score and Parts - unpublished; contact composer for purchase or rental information


Full Score
Flute (2) (second doubles on piccolo)
Bassoon (2)
Contrabassoon (1)
B-flat Soprano Clarinet (3)
B-flat Bass Clarinet (1)
B-flat Contrabass Clarinet (1)
Eb Alto Saxophone (2)
B-flat Tenor Saxophone (1)
Eb Baritone Saxophone (1)
Bb Trumpet (3)
Horn in F (4)
Trombone (3)
Euphonium (1)
Tuba (1)
Double Bass (1)
Timpani (1)
Percussion (3), including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Chimes
  • Crotales
  • Ratchet
  • Sandblocks
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tam-Tam
  • Tambourine
  • Triangle
  • Vibraphone
  • Xylophone



None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Having spent six years as a child growing up just outside of Denver, CO in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains I am extremely familiar with the awe-inspiring experience of a mountain sunset. So when I read the dense and breathtaking imagery in Emily Dickinson’s poem, °”How the old Mountains Drip with Sunset,” her words immediately brought me back to the many nights I spent in my backyard watching the dying sun dip below the mountain peaks:

How the old Mountains drip with Sunset
How the Hemlocks burn—
How the Dun Brake is draped in Cinder
By the Wizard Sun—

How the old Steeples hand the Scarlet
Till the Ball is full—
Have I the lip of the Flamingo v That I dare to tell?

Then, how the Fire ebbs like Billows—
Touching all the Grass
With a departing—Sapphire—feature-—
As a Duchess passed—

How a small Dusk crawls on the Village
Till the Houses blot
And the odd Flambeau, no men carry
Glimmer on the Street—

How it is Night — in Nest and Kennel—
And where was the Wood—
Just a Dome of Abyss is Bowing
Into Solitude—

These are the Visions flitted Guido—
Titian—never told—
Domenichino dropped his pencil—
Paralyzed, with Gold—

Though my work does not follow the form of Dickinson’s poem, it does draw its motivic and thematic elements from her words. There is a musical motive for the mountains, a theme for the sunset, cluster chords representing the beautifully intense and glowing sunlight, and even an emphasis on the notes E and D as a musical tribute to Emily Dickinson. The piece starts with a musical depiction of a sunset in the Rockies, and then dies away into a more gentle and understated “night music”. In the absence of any redeeming sunlight the night music takes a sinister turn, and darkness begins to envelop the piece. But the light eventually returns in the form of a clarinet solo, and the subsequent sunrise, in all of its resplendent glory restores color, beauty, and light to the world.

-Program Note by composer


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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Works for Winds by This Composer