Before Summer Rain


Program Note

Before Summer Rain probes the experience of childhood fears and the vague feeling of unease when one is alone in large house. The text, fractured and manipulated, is from the eponymous poem by Rainer Maria Rilke, while the backing track consists of a creaking harmonium, interior piano effects, and music boxes.
— Vicki Ray

Text by Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by Vicki Ray:
And just like that, something – you don’t know what –
has gone from all the green around you;
you feel it quietly creeping closer to the window.
From the trees nearby

a plover whistles, urgent and strong,
reminding you of Saint Jerome:
such passionate solitude in one voice
whose fierce request the downpour

will grant. The walls, with their ancient portraits,
glide away from us, as if
they were forbidden to hear what we are saying.

And reflected on the faded tapestries:
the chill uncertain light of those long
childhood hours when you were so afraid.
As a long time interpreter of contemporary music, Vicki Ray has more recently begun to compose and arrange pieces for piano, speaking pianist, piano and live electronics (including video), and small chamber ensemble. Her compositions have been performed by the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, Brightwork, Musique 21, the California E.A.R. Unit, the Varied Trio, at the Bang on a Can Summer Festival, and on the Piano Spheres series. She is humbled and grateful to be on the roster with tonight’s composers!

About Vicki Ray

Described as “phenomenal and fearless,” Grammy nominated pianist Vicki Ray is a leading interpreter of contemporary piano music. Known for thoughtful and innovative programming which seeks to redefine the piano…