The Sleeping Evergreen

by Dan Thieman

The sleeping evergreen patiently endures the cold of winter, awaiting the promise of snowmelt and the warming of the sun. Its green branches defy layers of snow and the lingering cold. But the ever-present color of its piney boughs reminds us of life, and growth – even amongst these unfavorable surroundings.

The recorder piece, "The Sleeping Evergreen" has three sections: ABA. While the A section conjures thoughts of the seemingly endless winter, the B section hints at the hope of spring. As winter has not yet completed its annual cycle, the A section returns. Back into its slumber, the evergreen sleeps.

Be sure to share the concept behind this work with your students before they learn the recorder part as it will give the music more meaning to them. This piece provides an opportunity for your students to be more musical without the challenges of complex written notation. The recorder part uses the notes EGABC. Rhythms are mostly quarter notes and half notes, with only a few sequential eighth notes in measure 13. The tempo is slow, and the mood is rather serious.

Even though the instrumentation in the accompaniment is quite simple, it is incredibly gripping: piano, two cellos, nylon guitar, and fretless bass. When first presenting this piece to your students, perhaps they could close their eyes to imagine what the evergreen looks like. You can also encourage them to focus on recognizing the ABA form that pairs with the concept of the music.

The piano/recorder score is available online, as well as the recorder part for ease in duplication. We have also provided an alternate shorter version in case that suits your needs better. The shorter version uses the same pitches as the longer one (EGABC), and retains the ABA form, but it does not include the consecutive moving eighth notes (among a few other removed phrases). These alterations make it more accessible for less advanced players. MP3s and PDFs of the shorter version are also available online.

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.