In 1958, Randall Thompson was commissioned to write Frostiana for the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the incorporation of the town of Amherst, Massachusetts. The town asked for a setting of some of Robert Frost's poetry as Frost had lived and worked there. Through family connections, Thompson and Frost had known each other for years and Frost admired Thompson's music. Thus, it was natural for the two of them to collaborate in selecting the poems to be set to music.
Frostiana was composed June 15-July 7, 1959, in Gstaad, Switzerland. Thompson knew that the choir that was to perform the work was going to be comprised of a women's and men's choruses (in those days the norm in American communities) "merged" for the event. Knowing that the choirs would have minimal rehearsal time together, Thompson composed most of the work for either men's or women's choir individually, with only the first and last poems to be sung SATB.
Both Thompson and Frost were present for the premiere performance on October 18, 1959. Thompson conducted and the choir was accompanied by piano, as it is tonight. At the conclusion of "Choose Something Like A Star," Frost rose spontaneously from his seat and bellowed, "Sing that again!"