RAIN MAKES ITS OWN NIGHT
Music by: Alexina Louie (b. 1949)
Text by: Anne Michaels
Performed by: Elektra Women’s Choir, British Columbia
Perhaps not surprisingly, rain serves to represent the West Coast’s relationship to water in ..float…. Toronto-based composer Alexina Louie has created an atmospheric, a cappella work for Elektra. She had this to say about her process: “My birthplace, Vancouver, is extraordinarily beautiful, but it is very wet. Just ask anyone there. It rains a lot and the air is often heavy with moisture. When Morna Edmundson introduced me to Canadian author Anne Michaels’ 1985 poem, Rain Makes Its Own Night, of which I have used excerpts for this work, its beautiful sensuality immediately caught my imagination. The harmonic overlaps and glissandi in the opening bars are intended to evoke the moist Vancouver air. My musical imagery parallels Anne’s poetic imagery of rain. The listener is meant to feel the rain through the falling musical gestures found throughout the piece.” Note that lines 2-5 of the poem are not included in the composition. Movement has been incorporated into the performance, created by Seattle-based movement therapist, Carol Schouboe.
Alexina Louie, one of Canada’s most highly regarded and most performed composers, developed her unique musical voice through explorations of Asian art and philosophy. Louie’s communicative, highly dramatic work pushes the boundaries of convention and tradition.
Performed and broadcast internationally, her commissioned works range across all musical genres, including ballet and opera. Her orchestral works have been conducted by Sir Andrew Davis, Charles Dutoit, Kent Nagano, Peter Oundjian, Alexander Shelley, and Leonard Slatkin among others.
Renowned singers Barbara Hannigan, Russell Braun, and John Relyea have performed her vocal works. She created ground-breaking made-for-tv mini domestic operas Toothpaste and Burnt Toast with collaborators Larry Weinstein and Dan Redican. Compositions for voice include her choral work, Love Songs For A Small Planet, Obsessions (baritone and orchestra) and her main stage opera The Scarlet Princess written with librettist David Henry Hwang.
An Officer of the Order of Canada and recipient of the Order of Ontario, Alexina Louie received an honorary doctorate from the University of Calgary in 2002. Her prizes include multiple JUNO Awards (Best Classical Composition), the National Arts Centre Composers Award, Jules Léger Prize. Alexina Louie’s extensive catalogue can be found at www.alexinalouie.ca
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