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Rain - Live Performance

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Published on May 17, 2010

Rain is a piece I wrote so Amy, Kristin, Nathan and I could all play together. The four of us have been friends in Theory and History classes at Blair, and each of us have played in duos with others of our quartet. Until this semester, we had not all played together, and there was not, as far as anyone could tell, any music for violin, two harps, and piano. To fill that void, I composed a piece for our ensemble over winter break.

The structure of Rain is a loose sonata form. The first section, or exposition, contains two themes; the first is moderate in tempo, and the second is quicker, rather like an English folk melody. In the second section, or development, these themes undergo transformations, becoming darker and more fragmented. The development ends with a stormy section using versions of both themes together, fading away with a distorted version the first theme in one of the harps amid a swirling backdrop. The third section, or recapitulation, uses material similar to that of the beginning, but in different keys and instruments. The piece concludes with a coda, in which both themes are combined again, finally reaching a sparkling climax of trills, glissandi and arpeggi to the final notes.

The title of Rain is not meant to indicate in the piece the specific sounds of rain, but rather to evoke the feeling, the atmosphere of it, ranging from calm to playful, mysterious to shimmering. The style as a whole is very English and a little French, with influences from composers such as Ralph Vaughan Williams, John Ireland, and Maurice Ravel.

Sean Calhoun

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