piano and percussion
duration: 8 minutes
Premiered by the Fireworks Ensemble at the Oregon Bach Festival Composers’ Symposium in Eugene, Oregon on July 2, 2005.
Studio Recording by Lembit Beecher, piano and Neeraj Mehta, percussion:
I was sitting in a bus station around Christmas time. A pay phone started ringing somewhere. Some people sat quietly talking, others bustled around. Bus brakes screeched, babies cried and the phone kept ringing for a long three minutes. The chaos around me combined with the phone’s unhurried timekeeping to create an eerie but strangely comforting sensation. And it occurred to me that this was exactly the feeling that I was trying to create in the opening of Rain Down, which I was just in the process of finishing.
It is often this way with my pieces—they begin to make sense in new ways as I am composing. The initial inspiration for the title, Rain Down, was the crashing piano chords near the beginning of the piece, but once I had decided on this title the music began to suggest to me the atmosphere of a storm. I found that the piece’s different sections corresponded to a sequence of events that I think many of us can relate to: lying awake listening to the patter of the rain on the roof, being awakened hours or maybe minutes later by the crackling and pounding of a full blown storm, and walking outside the next morning feeling the water slowly dripping off of trees, houses and grass—the world cleaning and renewing itself amid the smell of moist dirt.
Of course the piece is not literally about moist dirt or telephones, but the feeling of being in that bus station and outside after a rain I think are both tied in some strange, subconscious way to the sense I was trying to evoke in the piece.