Rain is an iconic poem by Hone Tuwhare, describing beautifully a feature of the weather but also subtly ruminating on death. The setting is quiet and lyrical, with an optional part for a rainmaker (to be played by the singer). This setting for baritone and piano was written for Matt Landreth, and recorded by him. The recording and score were auctioned to raise funds for the Otago Hospice appeal in May 2008. The song was subsequently scored for orchestra and recorded by Matt Landreth and the Auckland Philharmonia.
This work was written for the Taharoto Orchestra – a group consisting of students from both Westlake Girls and Westlake Boys High Schools conducted by Liz Cable.
The name ‘Taharoto’ is derived from two Maori words and is an approximation of the idea of ‘Westlake’. Literally it means ‘beside’ (taha) ‘lake’ (roto). The lake is Lake Pupuke on Auckland’s North Shore. A feature of the lake is the swans, and the symbol for Westlake Girls High School is the swan. I was asked to include ideas of the lake covered in mist and the swans taking flight, but also to include music which suggested aspects of the characters of the students at Westlake Girls High School: generous, assertive and energetic!
Overall the music has a sense of spaciousness, building to an emphatic climax, and subsiding into silence again at the end. The music includes some ‘contemporary’ playing techniques for the string players, with some more challenging parts for the leading wind players.