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Sheet Music: Score

Rainchant : for treble voices and chamber orchestra, Vocal score / Paul Stanhope.

by Paul Stanhope (2000)

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  • Library Availability: 782.754/STA 2 — Available for loan
  • Instrumentation: SSA (treble) choir with soli or semi chorus, percussion (1 player), piano, string orchestra; (pebbles for choristers and optional CD of thunder clap (available with performance parts) also required).
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  • Audio Sample

    Performance by MLC School Chamber Orchestra, MLC School Chamber Choir, Paul Stanhope from the CD Rainchant


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Soon after returning to Australia after living for seven months in the United Kingdom, I witnessed a spectacular thunderstorm over Sydney. This display of natural elements seemed so impressive (and such a contrast to London drizzle!) I knew at that moment I should write a piece which painted a musical picture of a Sydney storm.

There are two sources for the texts used here. From a collection of some two hundred traditional Haiku, I selected a handful which, when freely adapted, began to build up a picture of a city which sounded like Sydney, with images of a city on a harbour and nearby houses with red-tile roofs. The other text is a series of words for "rain" or "rainstorm" from different Aboriginal languages in the south-eastern parts of Australia. The use of these texts suggests a layering of culture and history in the painting of this musical tableaux.

The chant itself, sung simply to "oo" and "ah", represents the soil or the earth or perhaps even the idea of being earthed. The chant is symbolically calling down rain to quench drought and to revitalise and replenish the earth. It also stands for renewal and replenishment on a personal level.

RAINCHANT was commissioned by Karen Carey and the Department of Music at MLC School in Burwood. It was premiered in May 2001 by MLC school in the Concert Hall of the Sydney Opera House.

Published by: Australian Music Centre — 1 facsimile score (13p. -- A4 (portrait))

Difficulty: Medium — School/amateur.

Duration: 7 mins

Commission info: Commissioned by Karen Carey, MLC School (Sydney).

First performance by MLC School (Sydney) — May 01. Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House

Includes programme note, performance notes, and full text.

Written especially for school and youth performance in both choir and orchestra parts. The piece may, however, benefit from a more experienced percussionist and a professional pianist.

Typeset edition.

This edition produced Mar 15.

Related products

This work is also available in the following products:

Score: Rainchant : for treble voices and chamber orchestra / Paul Stanhope.

MLC School Opera House concert 2001.
CD: MLC School Opera House concert 2001.

CD: Rainchant / Paul Stanhope.


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