Instrumentation: Band (grade 3)

Piccolo, 2 Flutes, Oboe (div.), 3 Bb Clarinets, Bb Bass Clarinet, Bassoon (div.), 2 Eb Alto Saxophones, Bb Tenor Saxophone, Eb Baritone Saxophone, 3 Bb Trumpets, 2 F Horns, 3 Trombones, Euphonium (div.), Tuba (div.), Timpani, 6 Percussion

Winner of the 2019 Sousa/Ostwald Prize from the American Bandmasters Association

Duration: ca. 6:30

Premiere: December 21, 2017 :: Riverwatch Middle School Band :: Matthew Koperniak, conductor :: Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic :: Chicago, IL

View Score

Purchase: Murphy Music Press

Program Note:

Unquiet Hours was commissioned by the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic.

This piece is about the unquiet hours—the times when sadness, doubt, anxiety, loneliness, and frustration overwhelm and become a deluge of unceasing noise. When the distant din of the past and the steadily approaching uncertainty of the future grow closer and become louder than the present moment. When the world swirls and churns like a hurricane of discord and anger. And this piece is about finding peace inside this noise—it is about listening, it is about being still, and it is about empathy.

Musically, there is one central idea in this piece: an idée fixe around which everything centers. This idea is repeated and varied—even meditated upon—slowly changing color and shape, becoming increasingly tumultuous until eventually returning to the quiet stillness of the opening.

The title comes from the opening line of George William Russell’s poem The Hour of Twilight.