Opus 574

Symphony No. 2, “Litanies of Love and Rain” (2004)

for Orchestra

Duration: 11 min.

Dedication: for Marisa

Publisher: Musik Fabrik

Performance materials available from the publisher.

Symphony No. 2, “Litanies of Love and Rain” (2004) for orchestra is a symphonic work in one movement. It is dedicated to Marisa Green.

The work is inspired by a poem (“Desiring the Solicitude of Rain”) by American poet Kathleen Wakefield. The landscape of rich imagery in Wakefield’s poem drives the extra-musical inspiration of this work. Musical material from the earlier vocal work is re-imagined in a purely orchestral context.

Wakefield’s poem contains images and messages of love and journey amidst the desire for the coming of rain. It is these ideas which provided the poetic conception of the work.

Throughout the piece, the winds and brass play an extensive lyric and melodic role. A strand of singing lyricism runs throughout. Instruments are always exploring and highlighting the resonances in melodic and contrapuntal lines of other instruments.

The work is cast in three sections (slow-fast-slow) plus a coda. The opening section begins with a forceful gesture that returns throughout the work as a “signal.” A melodic idea (containing the basic material of the work) is presented in the clarinet and it is developed throughout the rest of the section. A faster section emerges in a burst of energy as instruments hocket off each other.

The next section is marked “slow, ritualistic.” The strings create an otherworldly “harmonic cloud” of gradually shifting and overlapping harmonies. Through this cloud, bassoon, trumpet, and flute solos emerge. Finally, the opening music is recalled in the coda as the potential energy continues to build. The work ends with a surge of anticipation—the rain is about to come and it can be imagined just beyond the horizon.