In his epic 1922 poem, The Waste Land, T.S. Elliot describes April as "the cruelest month." In many ways he was right. With cold spring rain dampening the earth and sky, our moods shift and flutter during this period of weather fluctuation.
On this edition of All Ears, we explore musical evocations of rain. However your mood is right now, we are going to shift it.
We hear Robert Kyr's Unseen Rain, a work that gracefully sets short poems into a celebratory musical drama. P.A.N. Ensemble and vocalists give us the illusion of hearing and seeing a storm. The piece closes with soft chimes and light piano hammering evoking droplets hitting the ground.
As usual with moderate to heavy showers come longer bouts of rain lingering into the evening. Two compositions which epitomize rainy spells in the city are by pianist James P. Johnson. We hear his New York City rag, Blue Moods, and his symphony, April in Harlem. Both give way to images of pitter-patter on the glass panes of a city building.
More in the forecast include an All Ears favorite, Mahalia Jackson singing the traditional Didn't it Rain, and Frederic Chopin's "Raindrop" Prelude.
Now is the time to duck inside or suit up with your hat and trenchcoat, 'cause It's Gonna Rain!
Ron Nelson: Sarabande: For Katherine in April
Howard Hanson, conductor
Jennifer Higdon: String Poetic: Nocturne
Jennifer Koh, violin
Reiko Uchida, piano
Robert Kyr: Unseen Rain
James P. Johnson: Blue Moods
James P. Johnson: Harlem Symphony: April in Harlem
Traditional: Didn't It Rain (arr. R. Martin)
Mahalia Jackson, voice
Frederic Chopin: Prelude No. 15 in D-falt, Op. 28, "Raindrop"
Dmitri Alexeev, piano
Joacb Ter Veldhuis (Jacob TV): Rainbow Concerto
Joshua Uzoigwe: Talking Drums
Steve Reich: It's Gonna Rain