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I first came across Verlaine’s famous poem while in my very early teens at school. It fascinated me instantly. It wasn’t until 2003 I felt able to adequately set this poem.
A motif, which represents both the tears and the rain in the poem, punctuates the structure of the setting. It is divided into three sections. The first sets the two verses together, the other two sections set third and fourth separately.
In the first section the voice tries to break out of a narrow range, eventually hitting a top G on the final word pluie. The vocal range is restricted to the lower register in the second and third sections as the poem becomes more inward.
The rain and tears slowly die away to nothing.
The first performance was given by Felicity Hayward (soprano) and Catherine Herriott (piano), at a concert given in St Mary Magdalene Parish Church, Munster Square, London on 11 April 2015.
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