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1. PROLOGUE: from The Rain
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Numbers 1-17 are from Rorem's POEMS OF LOVE AND THE RAIN Poetry: Donald Windham
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Ned Rorem

Master's Recital 4/26/05
Tue Oct 04, 2005
Classical : Opera
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About the song
With his choice of poems and the manner in which he set them, Rorem sought to create a brooding, dramatic, and anguished portrayal of unrequited love. While there is no story per se, Rorem's harmonic language conjures the image of a constant rain--sustaining a uniform mood with occasional flashes of light through the black cloud. The composer says of the cycle:

"The technical problem I set for myself is, so far as I know, unprecedented, going on the principle that if a poem is 'good' there is more than one way of musicalizing it. (In the past, when more than one composer has set the same poem to music, they each approached it in more or less the same way.) I selected poems by several American authors and set each one to music twice, in as contrasting a manner as possible (i.e. gentle then passionate, slow and violent, then fast and hysterical, etc.). To these poems I added an interlude whose words are sung but once, and a Prologue and Epilogue which are nearly identical--except that the Epilogue is 1/2 tone lower... Therefore, although each of the poems is repeated twice, none of the music is repeated--although there is one recurring motive throughout. And the order chosen for these seventeeen songs is 'pyramidal': the sequence works toward the Interlude, then backtracks--as in a mirror."
Everywhere, the impossible is happening: two things, the rain and the landscape, are occupying the same place at the same time.