On a Tune of William Billings

From Wind Repertory Project
Douglas E. Wagner

Douglas E Wagner

General Info

Year: 2015
Duration: c. 3:00
Difficulty: II (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Belwin-Mills
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $62.00; (digital) - $62.00   |   Score Only (print) - $10.00


Full Score
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II
Horn in F
Percussion I-II-III, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bells
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Triangle


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

This appealing work is based upon the well-known canon (or round) When Jesus Wept by the American choral composer William Billings (1746-1800). The selection is presented in three sections, each with its own personality. The tune is first marked “With dignity, but not too slowly.” Following this, a quicker more rhythmic version of the tune leads to a concluding treatment of the tune. This final contrapuntal presentation is scored as a round and leads to a satisfying finale, T

- Program Note from The Instrumentalist

William Billings (1746-1800) was by all historical accounts the first American professional composer and arranger. His legacy lives on today through the tunes and texts (mostly sacred) that have become fixed parts of our musical landscape.

One particular composition form of his invention, the “fuging tune,” is a highly imitative melody performed as a round or canon. No doubt his most easily recognized work in this genre is When Jesus Wept, a tune that has been used by many contemporary instrumental and choral writers in larger works.

This title captures the emotion and depth of Billings’ original tune and text, while presenting a playable selection full of tonal color and compositional variety.

- Program Note adapted from Roma Middle School Symphonic Winds concert program, 15 December 2016


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works


  • "New Music Reviews." The Instrumentalist 70.5 (2015): 47. Print