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Rumpelstilzchen: A Fairy Tale for Wind Ensemble

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Jess Langston Turner

Jess Langston Turner

General Info

Year: 2009
Duration: c. 18:00
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Bluejay Way Music
Cost: Score & Parts - $300.00

Movements (played without pause)

1. Spinning Straw into Gold - 6:20
2. Night (The Maiden's Lament) - 6:55
3. Rumpelstilzchen's Furiant (Moto Perpetuo) - 5:45


Full Score
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
Contra Bassoon
Eb Soprano Clarinet
Bb Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
Bb Bass Clarinet
Bb Soprano Saxophone
Eb Alto Saxophone I-II
Bb Tenor Saxophone
Eb Baritone Saxophone
Bb Trumpet I-II-III
Bb Flugelhorn I-II
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II
Bass Trombone
Euphonium I-II
String Bass
Timpani Percussion I-II-III +Mallets, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bell Tree
  • Bongos
  • Brake Drum
  • Cabasa
  • Castanets
  • Chimes
  • Claves
  • Crotales (bowed and mallet)
  • Cymbals (finger, suspended -medium and high
  • Flexatone
  • Gong
  • Guiro
  • Hi-hat
  • Marimba
  • Orchestra Bells
  • Ratchet
  • Snare Drum
  • Tambourine
  • Tam-tam (small and large)
  • Temple Blocks
  • Tenor Drum
  • Tom-toms (Hi, Med hi, Med, Med Lo, Lo)
  • Vibraphone
  • Vibra-slap
  • Water gong
  • Whip
  • Wood block (high)
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Of all the fairy tales that I grew up hearing, "Rumpelstilzchen" is the one that most captured my imagination. The image of a creepy little gnome who has the magical power to spin straw into gold was fascinating to me. In fact, one of my first recognizable childhood drawings was a crudely rendered little man furiously whirling himself into oblivion among multicolored scribbles. In addition, I also grew up attending concerts and hearing recordings of the university wind ensemble that my father conducts. So it is only natural that I compose a major work for symphonic winds that takes inspiration from "Rumpelstilzchen."

Rumpelstilzchen is divided into three movements, each depicting a different part of the story. The movement Spinning Straw into Gold paints a portrait of Rumpelstilzchen clattering away at his spinning wheel. You will hear the wooden clicking and rattling of the spinning wheel, Rumpelstilzchen laughing to himself, as well as ominous undertones of his plan to steal the poor maiden's firstborn son. After gradually working himself into a frenzy, the gnome manages to compose himself enough to complete his task before vanishing into thin air. The second movement, Night (The Maiden's Lament) is a picture of the maiden's grief upon realizing that she must give up her firstborn son to Rumpelstilzchen in exchange for his spinning services. A long, plaintive melodic line is passed among various solo instruments, gradually culminating in a mournful chorale as the grief-stricken maiden sings her sorrow into the night. The third movement, Rumpelstilzchen's Furiant (Moto Perpetuo), describes Rumpelstilzchen's fury after his plot is foiled by the maiden successfully guessing his name. This final movement is a technical tour de force for the entire ensemble as it paints the picture of Rumpelstilzchen's fury and his whirling faster and faster until he flies out of the maiden's window on a cooking ladle, never to be seen again.

I am honored that Rumpelstilzchen was selected as winner of the 2010 Walter Beeler Award for Wind Composition and sincerely hope that every audience that hears it will relive the childhood mystery of this wonderful story.

-Program Notes by Jess Langston Turner


  • Walter Beeler Award, 2010, winner

Commercial Discography

None discovered thus far.

State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • University of Connecticut (Stamford) Wind Ensemble (Vu Nguyen, conductor) - 9 October 2018
  • North Dakota State University (Fargo) Wind Symphony (Warren Olfert, conductor) – 30 April 2016
  • University of Illinois (Champaign) Wind Symphony (Stephen G. Peterson, conductor) – 31 March 2016
  • The University of North Texas Wind Ensemble - February 2012
  • Bob Jones University Symphonic Wind Band (Dan Turner, conductor) - December 2011
  • The Yale University (New Haven, Conn.) Concert Band (Thomas Duffy, conductor) - 15 April 2011
  • Furman University (Greenville, S.C.) Wind Ensemble (Les Hicken, conductor) - 18 November 2010
  • The Prairie Winds (Normal, Ill.) (Robert Sheldon, conductor) - 16 June 2010 - Normal, IL
  • The Hartt School (Hartford, Conn.) Wind Ensemble (Glen Adsit, conductor) - 30 May 2010 - Carnegie Hall, New York, NY.
  • The Hartt School (Hartford, Conn.) Wind Ensemble (Glen Adsit, conductor) - 18 December 2009

Works for Winds by this Composer

Works for Band and Wind Ensemble

Chamber Works: