Good Night, Dear Heart


Good Night, Dear Heart


Forrest, Dan

Item Code:
C. Alan Publications

Originally composed for choir, this gorgeous, heart-wrenching work features lush harmonies, memorable & lyrical melodies, and requires a great amount of sensitivity & finesse.

Program Notes

Program note from the original choral piece:

In early October 2008, my brother and his wife found out that the four month old girl that they were soon to adopt from Ethiopia was in the hospital. They had been making plans for her, staring endlessly at her picture, and loving her from across the ocean, so the news was devastating. Unable to help her in any physical way, they prayed ceaselessly and made appeals to speed up the legal process in Ethiopia. Initially, she made a turn for the better, but a few days later, they received the news that she had died. God’s plans were not for her to ever see the people who had loved her from halfway around the world, but for her to be taken instead to His loving arms. For me, life circumstances (whether euphoric or tragic) have never translated into musical inspiration; the two have always been separate. As a result of this tragedy, though, I found myself longing to pour out a musical elegy. My search for a suitable text led me all over the internet that night, but, amazingly, it ended with a picture from a cemetery in my hometown (Elmira, NY), where the great American author Mark Twain and his family are buried. My brother and I, from our youth, have known the poem that Twain placed on the tombstone of his beloved daughter Susy, when she died unexpectedly at age 24 and left him heartbroken. I was stunned by the bittersweet irony of this text being from our hometown, and in honor of a beloved daughter who died unexpectedly. I wrote this setting within a day, and gave it to the BJU Chorale (where I was currently teaching) for a reading. They learned it in only a few rehearsals, and premiered it in a concert only one week later, as an elegy for Etsegenet and a reminder of the orphans of Ethiopia.

Warm summer sun
Shine kindly here,
Warm southern wind blow softly here,
Green sod above lie light, lie light –Good night, dear heart,
Good night, good night.

In the years since its initial publication as a choral piece in 2009, Good Night, Dear Heart has been widely performed in the choral community, but I've wanted to elaborate on its ideas in a medium with more opportunities for varied color, texture, and counterpoint than a cappella choir.

The wind ensemble was the perfect medium to accomplish that, and the following consortium of wind ensembles has commissioned this work, allowing those ideas to be brought to life:

Anderson University (Anderson, South Carolina; Dr. David Stern)
Bob Jones University (Greenville, South Carolina; Dr. Dan Turner)
Charleston Southern University (Charleston, South Carolina; Dr. Marshall Forrester)
Clemson University (Clemson, South Carolina; Dr. Mark Spede)
Concordia University Chicago (River Forest, Illinois; Dr. Richard R. Fischer)
Furman University (Greenville, South Carolina; Dr. Les Hicken)
Loreto College Ballarat (Victoria, Australia; Simone Jans)
South Dakota State University (Brookings, South Dakota; Dr. Eric Peterson)
Wisconsin Lutheran High School (Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Quinten Petersen)

Grade Level: 3.5
Copyright: 2015
Number of Players: Standard
Duration: 4:30

Listen to Recordings

Sample Pages

[ Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 ]


Flute 1
Flute 2
Oboe 1-2
Bassoon 1-2
B-flat Clarinet 1
B-flat Clarinet 2
B-flat Clarinet 3
Bass Clarinet
Alto Saxophone 1
Alto Saxophone 2
Tenor Saxophone
Baritone Saxophone

B-flat Cornet (or Trumpet)
F Horn 1-2
F Horn 3-4
Trombone 1
Trombone 2
Euphonium 1 (Baritone TC 1)
Euphonium 2 (Baritone TC 2)

Double Bass

Percussion (Chimes, Suspended Cymbal, Small Triangle)