Published: Theodore Presser Company
RAIN AND ASH. In the summer of 2007, after 17 years of sharing our lives together, my partner and I held a civil union ceremony in a quiet courtyard near our home. We exchanged rings and vows in front of our seven-year-old daughter, our parents and siblings, aunts and uncles, nephews and nieces, cousins, and friends. It was the best day of my life… and it rained like I had never seen it rain before. Someone told me that evening that the rain was an omen of good luck. If so, it was short-lived; five days later, my father died suddenly of a heart attack. It was a profound loss for me. “Rain” opens with a dance-like arrangement of an old Neapolitan lullaby. The festive dance music returns three times, alternating with more lyrical sections; with each return, the festivities grow more and more jubilant. “Ash” begins with the violin sweetly recalling the Neapolitan lullaby, which is abruptly silenced by violent repeated chords. These “brutal” chords interrupt the music’s flow throughout the movement, appearing increasingly further apart; in between these interruptions the lullaby returns in various states (plaintive, distant, sweet, mysterious, wailing), yet never fully intact, permanently altered. It hovers in memory, always just out of reach. About halfway through the second movement, a new lullaby surfaces, “Skye Boat Song.” A tune that I’ve always found hauntingly beautiful, the boat song becomes a metaphor for the journey of grieving, and the acceptance of loss.
Sponsored by: Herschel and Jill Rosenzweig, Helmut Abt, and Harold G. Basser in memory of his wife Suzanne