• Judith Weir
  • The welcome arrival of rain (2001)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)

Commissioned by The Minnesota Orchestra on the occasion of the Orchestra’s Centennial

  • 3(pic).2+ca.3.34400timp.3perchpstr
  • 16 min

Programme Note

This profuse and exuberant piece arose out of bare beginnings; a scale passage followed by a simple melody. Whilst I composed it, as the notes and the pages multiplied, I began to think of a comparison with the arrival of the monsoon in India, when aridity is pierced by life-giving rain; and humans, animals and vegetation revel in sudden activity and fertility. Although the monsoon is expected yearly, its arrival is always joyously surprising. The music¹s title was inspired by a passage from the 18,000 verse Hindu text, Bhagavata Purana ( quoted in the score.)

A 6-phrase scale pattern is heard at the beginning of the piece in highly compressed forms; in rushing passages for the winds and as chords for the solo strings. Then an 8-phrase melody is heard in a lush and spacious version where strings predominate above horns and trumpets. From here on, these two melodic sources are alternated as the basis of melody and harmony, right up to the utterly energetic culmination where both melodies are heard together with their respective variations; there follows a gentle, rainy coda. A prominent solo for the drum section (rototoms, tomtoms and timpani) starts in the middle of the piece and reinforces the ever-growing energy of the music.

The welcome arrival of rain (duration 16 minutes) was commissioned by the Minnesota Orchestra on the occasion of the orchestra¹s centennial, and written during 2001-1. It was first performed on 22 January 2003 by the Minnesota Orchestra conducted by Osmo Vanska.

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The Welcome Arrival of Rain

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