What I Expected Was . . . (1962)
For mixed chorus, brass ensemble, and percussion
text by Stephen Spender x


Commissioned by the Tanglewood Festival, 1961

First performed August 16, 1962, at Tanglewood, with Hugh Ross conducting the chorus and
ensemble; Lenox, MA


rent score and parts from G. Schirmer Inc 

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Scored for mixed chorus, 2 horns, 4 trumpets, 2 trombones, tuba, timpani, and percussion (2 players)

Duration  5 minutes


In 1962 I received my first commission – by the Tanglewood Music Festival - for a work for chorus, brass ensemble, and percussion. I chose the passionate but disillusioned text “What I Expected Was . . .” by Stephen Spender. I set the work with his permission, but then saw that he had revised the final words from “shattering crystal” to “faceted crystal.” “Shattering” made for a much better setting, and he gave me permission to use it in my work.

                     — John Corigliano

© 2021 John Corigliano | Designed by Wlad Marhulets | Artwork photos by Richard Howe