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Who Has Seen the Wind?

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Martha Horst

Martha Horst

General Info

Year: 2015
Duration: c. 16:40
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Martha Callison Horst
Cost: Score and Parts - $100.00

Movements (played without pause)

1. 8:12
2. 8:28


Full Score
Flute I-II
Flute III/Alto Flute
Oboe I-II
English Horn
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Contrabass Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Saxophone
E-flat Alto Saxophone
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III-IV
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
String Bass
Percussion I-II-III-IV, including:

  • Bar Chimes, metal
  • Bass Drum
  • Chimes
  • Crotales
  • Glockenspiel
  • Gong, small
  • Marimba
  • Sleigh Bells
  • Suspended Cymbal, small and medium
  • Tam-Tam, large
  • Triangle, small
  • Vibraphone
  • Wind Chimes, small metal


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

While living in Helsinki, Finland, I visited the Sibelius Monument, an abstract sculpture by Eila Hiltunen dedicated to Finland’s most famous composer. This sculpture uses a cluster of 600 stainless steel pipes to represent Sibelius’ music. The air in the pipes, like his music, is ethereal; it cannot be seen -- only heard via motion of something like an air column of an organ pipe or wind instrument such as a clarinet.

The impalpable nature of air is also the subject of Christina Rossetti’s poem Who Has Seen the Wind?

Who has seen the wind?
Neither I nor you.
But when the leaves hang trembling,
The wind is passing through.
Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I.
But when the trees bow down their heads,
The wind is passing by.

-(1872) Christina Rossetti, 1830-1894

As I read this poem to my young daughter while in Finland, I attempted to write music that represented through sound what Rossetti was trying to describe through words. The resulting work for woodwind ensemble, Who Has Seen the Wind?, is approximately seventeen and a half minutes long and falls into two movements performed attacca [without pause]. The first movement, inspired by Hiltunen’s sculpture, is reminiscent of air passing through a giant pipe organ. The relationship between air, sound, breath and music is captured in the sound of the opening contrabass clarinet tone emerging from the sound of breath from the player. A subsequent E-flat chord is passed through the woodwind ensemble for nine minutes.

After an introductory passage in the second movement, running sixteenth-note passages occur; these are meant to evoke the rustling motion of wind and air discussed in Rossetti’s poem. This rustling motion moves through the ensemble and rises to a climactic passage that then dissipates into the upper register of the ensemble. After an extensive vibraphone solo, pitch and rhythm fade away. At the end, all that is left is the sound of a single clarinet -- the timbre of a single air column that opened the work.

- Program Note by composer

For the Illinois State University Wind Symphony.

- Program Note from score


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Illinois State University (Normal) Wind Symphony (Anthony C. Marinello, conductor) – 26 March 2018 *Premiere Performance*

Works for Winds by This Composer