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Texts and music on the theme of rain, with readings by Tim McMullan and Emily Taaffe. Including Clare, Hardy and Emily Dickinson, plus music from Sibelius, Finzi and Debussy.

The rainstorm is an invitation to pause and step outside the normal stream of everyday time and to reflect or remember; for some an irritant, for others an opportunity and for others a reminder of the power of nature or God and the impotence of man.

In this edition of Words and Music Tim McMullan and Emily Taaffe read poems and prose by John Clare, Thomas Hardy and Emily Dickinson with music from Sibelius, Finzi and Debussy.

Producer: Natalie Steed.

1 hour

Last on

Sun 13 Oct 2013 17:30

Music Played

Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • 00:00

    Franz Liszt

    Nuages Gris S.199

    Performer: Barry Douglas

    • RCA 09026612212.
  • Percy Bysshe Shelley

    The Cloud (extract), read by Emily Taaffe

  • 00:02

    Claude Debussy

    Nocturnes: I- Nuages

    Performer: Philharmonia Orchestra, Cond. Michael Tilson Thomas

    • CBS CD37832.
  • Untitled

    Words for Clouds, read by Tim McMullan

  • John Clare

    The Thunder Mutters, read by Tim McMullan

  • 00:10

    Gerald Finzi, orchestrated by Anthony Payne

    Proud Songsters

    Performer: tenor John Mark Ainsley, City of London Sinfonia, Richard Hickox

    • CHANDOS CHAN9888.
  • 00:13

    Jean Sibelius

    Chorus of the Winds from The Tempest, Suite no. 2

    Performer: Iceland Symphony Orchestra, cond. Petri Sakari

    • NAXOS 8554387.
  • Emily Dickinson

    Like rain it sounded, read by Emily Taaffe

  • 00:17


    Raag Mian Ki Malhar (extract)

    Performer: Kamal Sabri, Suhail Yusuf Khan, Sarvar Sabri

    • Arc Music B0019H57SS.
  • Ray Bradbury

    The Long Rain (extract), read by Tim McMullan

  • 00:20

    Ferde Grofé

    Cloudburst, Grand Canyon Suite

    Performer: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, cond Enrique Batiz

    • EMI CDC7490562.
  • Untitled

    King James Bible, Genesis, Chapter 7, v 15 - 24 read by Emily Taaffe

  • 00:29

    Frédéric Chopin

    Prelude No 15

    Performer: Nikolai Demidenko

    • ONYX 4036.
  • Thomas Hardy

    We sat at the window, read by Tim McMullan

  • Sara Teasdale

    Spring Rain, read by Emily Taaffe

  • Thomas Hardy

    A Thunderstorm in Town, read by Tim McMullan

  • 00:37

    Irving Berlin

    Isn't this a Lovely Day?

    Performer: Fred Astaire

    • Past Perfect Vintage Music B00007L9S7.
  • Jane Austen

    from Pride and Prejudice, read by Emily Taaffe

  • 00:41

    Antonio Vivaldi

    Largo from Le Quattro Stagioni, Concerto No 4, L'inverno

    Performer: Janine Jansen, solo violin

    • DECCA 4756188.
  • Don Patterson

    Rain, read by Tim McMullan

  • 00:44

    Toru Takemitsu

    Rain Spell

    Performer: Toronto New Music Ensemble

    • NAXOS 8555859.
  • Langston Hughes

    Let the Rain Kiss You, read by Emily Taaffe

  • Seamus Heaney

    The Rain Stick, read by Tim McMullan

  • 00:50

    Eric Whitacre


    Performer: Polyphony, cond Stephen Layton, with Stephen Betteridge piano, Robert Millett percussion, and pupils of the Lady Eleanor Holles School, Hampton, Middlesex

    • HYPERION CDA67543.

Producer's Note

The rain braids its way through this edition Words and Music. The rainstorm is an invitation to pause and step outside the normal stream of everyday time and to reflect or remember; for some an irritant, for others, like Mrs Bennett an opportunity for consolidation of strategic matchmaking and for others a reminder of the power of nature or God and the impotence of man.


We begin with a gathering of clouds and a celebration of their names. There follows a sketch of a haymaking downpour and a setting by Finzi of Hardy’s strange invocation of the magic and impermanence of creation: Proud Songsters.


A Monsoon raga performed by the Sabri family and the insistence of Ray Bradbury’s description of The Long Rain leads us to the destruction of the Flood a hint of which mythical terror is drummed by even the gentlest of showers.


Then a series of lovers “caught” by rain consider intense moments out of time with Chopin’s “raindrop” prelude and a lighter moment from Irving Berlin and Fred Astaire.


Don Patterson and Langston Hughes offer a more positive take on precipitation and Toru Takemitsu’s Rain Spell leads us into a celebration of the sounds of rain and their replication. Seamus Heaney delights in the rain stick and the edition finishes with the optimism of the extraordinary choral Cloudburst by Eric Whitacre.


Producer: Natalie Steed


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