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Wild Nights!

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Frank Ticheli

Frank Ticheli

General Info

Year: 2007
Duration: c. 6:50
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Manhattan Beach Music
Cost: Score and Parts - $195.00   |   Score Only - $40.00


Full Score
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III-IV
B-flat Bass Clarinet (divisi)
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Tuba (divisi)
Percussion I-II-III-IV, including:

  • Bass Drum (concert and pedal)
  • Bongos
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Glockenspiel
  • Marimba
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tam-Tam
  • Tambourine
  • Temple Blocks
  • Triangle
  • Vibraphone
  • Xylophone


  • Piccolo, m.57: Last note should be high A-flat, not B-flat.
  • Oboe II, m.89, next to last note: Should be C-sharp.
  • Bassoons, m.220: Last 2 notes should be accented.
  • B-flat Bass Clarinet, m.181: Should have low B, not low A.
  • E-flat Alto Saxophone, m.120-121: Should have the same rhythm as oboe
  • E-flat Alto Saxophone I, m.85: "P" indication should be at end of bar.
  • E-flat Alto Saxophone I, m.117: The C-sharp half note is correct.
  • B-flat Tenor Saxophone, m.220: Last 2 notes should be accented.
  • E-flat Baritone Saxophone, m.220: Last 2 notes should be accented.
  • Saxophones (all), m.29, beat 4: Crescendo.
  • B-flat Trumpet I: Rehearsal number 46 should appear one measure earlier than shown
  • Horn in F III-IV, m.27: Should have same notes as Horn I-II.
  • Tuba, m.150: Two-bar crescendo.

Program Notes

Wild Nights! is a joyous, colorful seven-minute musical journey inspired by Emily Dickinson's poem:

Wild nights! Wild nights!
Were I with thee,
Wild nights should be
Our luxury!

Futile the winds
To a heart in port,
Done with the compass,
Done with the chart.

Rowing in Eden!
Ah! the sea!
Might I but moor
To-night in thee!

Numerous composers have set the words of Wild Nights! to music (Lee Hoiby's song setting and John Adams' Harmonium come immediately to mind). However, to my knowledge, no one has used this wonderfully sensuous poem as the basis for a purely instrumental tone poem. This was my aim, and in so doing I focused most heavily on the lines “Done with the compass,/Done with the chart” and “Rowing in Eden!/Ah! the sea!” These words suggested the sense of freedom and ecstatic joy that I tried to express in my work.

Throughout the piece, even during its darker middle section, the music is mercurial, impetuous, optimistic. A jazzy syncopated rhythmic motive permeates the journey. Unexpected events come and go, lending spontaneity and a sense of freedom. The work is composed in five distinct sections, but contained within each section are numerous surprises and a devil-may-care swagger. Surprises are found at every turn, and continue right through the final cadence.

Wild Nights! was commissioned by the California Band Directors Association in celebration of their 50th anniversary.

- Program Note by Frank Ticheli

Wild Nights! is an exultant piece, with an underlying sense of longing for romantic freedom and passion.

Ticheli uses octatonic collections, syncopated rhythms, and short motives to create a sense of freedom and passionate wildness as depicted in Dickinson’s poem. Surprises are peppered across the entirety of the work, transient and effervescent. The wild and rhythmically driven outer sections contrast with the darker lyrical middle segment, mimicking the tone in the poem. Ticheli’s instrumental tone poem is effective, using musical tools to express the rampant, feral emotions in the absence of the text.

- Program note by Chee Weng Yim for the University of Miami Frost Symphonic Winds cncert program, 7 April 2015


State Ratings

  • North Carolina: VI


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Chicago Wind Symphony (Chicago, Ill.) (Michael McCain, conductor) - 7 January 2023
  • University of Texas (Austin) Symphony Band (Clifton Croomes, conductor) – 30 November 2022
  • Cleveland (Ohio) State University Alumni & Friends Band (Birch Browning, conductor) – 4 October 2022
  • Illinois State University (Normal) Symphonic Winds (F. Mack Wood, conductor) - 28 March 2022
  • Banda Filarmónica Juveníl (Bogotá, Colombia) Wind Ensemble (David MacKenzie, conductor) - 21 March 2020
  • University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire Symphony Band (Phillip A. Ostrander, conductor) – 22 November 2019
  • State University of New York, Fredonia, All College Band (Carrie Pawelski, conductor) – 19 November 2019
  • Austin (Tx.) Symphonic Band (Richard Floyd, conductor) – 12 November 2019
  • West Virginia University (Morgantown) Wind Symphony (Cody Lassinger, conductor) – 24 April 2019
  • Michigan State University (East Lansing) Concert Band (Arris Golden, conductor) – 24 April 2019
  • University of North Texas (Denton) Concert Band (Nicholas E. Williams, conductor) – 20 February 2019
  • Kennesaw (Ga.) State University Win Symphony (Debra Traficante, conductor) – 12 December 2018
  • University of California, Santa Barbara, Wind Ensemble (Paul Bambach, conductor) – 29 November 2018
  • Southern Utah University (Cedar City) Wind Symphony (Adam Lambert, conductor) – 2 November 2018
  • Brigham Young University (Provo, Utah) Symphonic Band (Kirk Saville, conductor) – 4 April 2018
  • University of Delaware (Newark) Wind Ensemble (Heidi Sarver, conductor) – 17 March 2018
  • Ithaca (N.Y.) College Concert Band (Brian Diller, conductor) – 1 March 2018
  • University of Evansville (Ind.) Wind Ensemble (Kenneth Steinsultz, conductor) – 26 February 2016 (CBDNA 2016 North Central Division Conference, Ames, Iowa)
  • Duke Wind Symphony (Durham, N.C.) (Verena Mösenbichler-Bryant, conductor) - 24 February 2018
  • Summit High School (Arlington, Tex.) Wind Symphony (Chris Kanicki, conductor) - 21 December 2017 (2017 Midwest Clinic)

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

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