Mountains and Rivers Without End

From Wind Repertory Project
Alan Hovhaness

Alan Hovhaness

Subtitle: Chamber Symphony for 10 players. This work bears the designation Opus 225.

General Info

Year: 1969
Duration: c. 25:00
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: C. F. Peters
Cost: Score and Parts - $130.00   |   Score Only - $15.50


Full Score
B-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Trumpet
Percussion I-II-III, including:

  • Chimes
  • Glockenspiel
  • Tam-Tam
  • Vibraphone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

The music was inspired by a long Korean landscape scroll-painting. The picture is a like a mountain journey beginning in mist, passing by rivers, mountains, villages, and temples, finally to disappear again into mist and nothingness. Free-rhythm sounds -- birdlike, mist of bell-sounds, bucolic animal sounds -- all these clouds of sounds hover between four powerful reverberations of a seven-beat mantra over drums and bells.

Mountains and Rivers Without End was partly based on one of my oriental operas, The Leper King. I was not satisfied with the first performance of this opera because of lack of rehearsals, so I used the seven-four chorus theme in this chamber symphony when I conducted a concert of my own music in Munich.

- Program Note by composer

Mountains and Rivers Without End is one of the works from the late 1960s in which Alan Hovhaness explored techniques and effects derived from Korean music. Hovhaness noted that this "chamber symphony" was inspired by a long Korean landscape scroll-painting. A seven-beat, mantra-like melody (also used extensively in the composer's 1967 opera The Leper King) serves as a sort of ritornello or refrain. Other Korean-inspired devices include dissonant woodwind canons at the unison and glissando effects in the trombone. Mountains and Rivers, as well as other works from this period of Hovhaness' career, represent a point of extremism in the composer's music with regard to the repetition of ideas, sparseness of texture, unresolved dissonance, and absence of triadic harmony.

- Program note by Walter Simmons


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Southern Methodist University (Dallas, Tx.) Meadows Wind Ensemble (Jack Delaney, conductor) - 6 October 2023

Works for Winds by This Composer