• Barry Guy
  • After the Rain (1992)

  • Novello & Co Ltd (World)
  • str(14.0.4.4.2)
  • 25 min

Programme Note

After the Rain was commissioned by Richard Hickox and the City of London Sinfonia to mark their 20th anniversary in 1992, with funds provided by the Arts Council of Great Britain.

The piece was formulated through various diverse references which do not indicate a methodology as such, but do however suggest particular motivations. Personal experiences in the performance of early, contemporary and improvised music and my interest in architecture and painting have led me to the music that seemed appropriate for the occasion.

In effect, After the Rain is a slow movement punctuated by an active refrain that elongates as the piece progresses. The final form was decided following a visit to the Tate Gallery in London to view the 1991 exhibition of Max Ernst: a retrospective. Here I had the good fortune to see close up his painting Europe After the Rain. The canvas portrays four large masses of tortuous baroque-like remains as if left after some unfathomable catastrophe which are somehow held in a non-violent state of animation. In many of Max Ernst's paintings there are half hidden images submerged in the exquisite details. These images invite the viewer to speculate on the nature of events. Here in Europe After the Rain could be the apotheosis of anxiety and destruction or the emergence of new life from the ruins. I am drawn to the latter. I am also drawn to polyphony as practised in Renaissance music. Ernst's painting resonated with sonorous voices from this distant age, so it seemed appropriate therefore to respond by aligning the various sections with known forms of the period.

After the Rain is dedicated to the yachtsman George Debenham who gave me the opportunity to experience the forces of nature, to work hard in the sport of yacht racing and to find intense moments of meditation during our days at sea.

There are four main sections:
1. Refrain/Chorale/Antiphon
2. Refrain/Chanson
3. Canon/Antiphon
4. Motet/Antiphon/Refrain

© Barry Guy
1992 Novello and Co. Ltd

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I: Refrain

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