Leaves Are Falling, The

From Wind Repertory Project
Warren Benson

Warren Benson

General Info

Year: 1964
Duration: c. 10:35
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Hal Leonard Corporation
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $65.00   |   Score Only (print) - $7.50


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
English Horn
Bassoon I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Contrabass Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Saxophone (optional E-flat Alto Saxophone)
E-flat Alto Saxophone
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Cornet I-II-III
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
String Bass
Harp (or Piano)
Percussion I-II-III, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bells
  • Claves
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tam-tam
  • Triangle
  • Tubular Bells


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Completed in January, 1964, The Leaves Are Falling introduced to the large wind ensemble-band literature a kind of music which in its single movement length and introspective character was unknown to that time. The work was commissioned by Kappa Gamma Psi, a small national music fraternity of which Frank L. Battisti, Ithaca, N.Y., was an officer. It was through him that the commission came about. It was to have its premiere performance on the American Music Festival of May 1964, by the Eastman Wind Ensemble under Clyde A. Roller, conductor, in the Eastman Theatre of the Eastman School of Music, Rochester, New York.

The Leaves Are Falling is a statement of grief following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. For Benson, his feelings on the matter were encapsulated by Rainer Maria Rilke‘s poem Herbst (Autumn) from Buch der Bilder:

The leaves are falling, falling as if from afar,
as though far gardens withered in the skies;
They are falling with denying gestures.

And in the nights the heavy earth is falling
from all the stars down into loneliness.

We all are falling. This hand falls.
And look at the others: it is in them all.

And yet there is one, who holds this falling
with infinite gentleness in his hands.

- Program Note from score

The Leaves are Falling is a patient work, allowing sustained tones to evolve into sonorities that subsequently emerge as themes. Players require control to perform extended, often dissonant, harmonies for much of the piece. As such, collegiate ensembles would likely have the greatest degree of success with this work. The composer quotes familiar melodies that engage the audience throughout; at the same time, the manipulation and development of motives is sophisticated enough to challenge fine performers.

- Notes from Great Music for Wind Band


State Ratings

  • Alabama: Class AA
  • California: VI Class AA
  • Florida: VI
  • Iowa: V
  • Louisiana: V
  • Massachusetts: VI
  • Michigan: AA
  • North Carolina: VI
  • Oklahoma: V-A
  • South Carolina: VI
  • Tennessee: V
  • Texas: V. Complete
  • Virginia: V


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Central Michigan University (Mount Pleasant) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Christopher C. Chapman, conductor) - 21 November 2023
  • Eastman Wind Orchestra (Rochester, N.Y.) (Mason St. Pierre, conductor) - 27 March 2023
  • University of Indianapolis (Ind.) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Jon Noworyta, conductor) - 20 November 2022
  • Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Mallory Thompson, conductor) - 11 November 2022
  • Messiah University (Mechanicsburg, Penn.) Wind Ensemble (James Colonna, conductor) - 22 April 2021
  • Michigan Technological University Superior Wind Symphony (Michael Christianson, conductor) – 27 September 2019
  • Texas Tech University (Lubbock) Symphonic Band (Eric Allen, conductor) – 22 March 2019
  • State University of New York, Potsdam, Symphonic Band (Brian K. Doyle, conductor) – 15 November 2018
  • Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, Penn.) Wind Ensemble (George Vosburgh, conductor) – 11 November 2018
  • Indiana University of Pennsylvania (Indiana, Penn.) Wind Ensemble (Timothy Paul, conductor) – 10 November 2018
  • University of Texas (Austin) Wind Symphony (Scott Hanna, conductor) – 10 October 2018
  • University of Miami (Coral Gables) Frost Wind Ensemble (Robert Carnochan, conductor) – 26 April 2018
  • Penn State (College Park) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Dennis Glocke, conductor) – 27 March 2018
  • University of Toronto (Ont., Can.) Wind Ensemble (Gillian MacKay, conductor) – 2 December 2017
  • Indiana University (Bloomington) Symphonic Band (Eric M. Smedley, conductors) – 14 November 2017
  • Nazareth College Wind Symphony (Rochester, N.Y.) (Jared Chase, conductor) – 29 October 2017
  • Ohlone Wind Orchestra (Fremont, Calif.) (Tony Clements, conductor) – 29 October 2017
  • Mississippi Wind Symphony (Jackson) (Craig Young, conductor) - 27 June 2017
  • Dallas (Tex.) Wind Symphony (Howard Dunn, conductor) - 18 August 1985 *Inaugural Concert*

Works for Winds by This Composer