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The Welcome Arrival of Rain
Ensemble Detail(s)
BBC Symphony Chorus / BBC Symphony Orchestra
Ailish Tynan, soprano
Label name
Recording year
Conductor details
Martyn Brabbins

Work Title


Released to coincide with the BBC's weekend of concerts at the Barbican devoted to Judith Weir's music, this collection of her recent orchestral pieces, with and without voices, reveals both the strengths and weaknesses of her musical voice. A typical Weir piece for the concert hall lasts around 15 minutes, and employs a clutch of musical ideas that are explored from a variety of perspectives, as if illuminated by a sequence of differently angled lights and colours. The sounds she creates are invariably engaging, and the webs of ideas arresting...The orchestral song cycle Natural History and the choral piece on an Emily Dickenson text, Moon and Star, are striking in their different ways...
Andrew Clements, The Guardian, 2/1/2008

'It has been a good few months for Judith Weir...Allied to a disposition towards brevity - she rarely goes in for lengthy orchestral works - Weir is a mdoest composer whose works have always aimed at immediately engaging the listener. The title piece, The Welcome Arrival of Rain, is a good example. Although it is scored for large orchestra, with roto-toms and tom-toms in the percussion section, her handling of the forces is typically delicate and clear. Likewise, her appeal to the listener is straightforward: the bright rain-heralding opening motif, repeated, expanded and developed, dominates the atmosphere of the whole piece. ...Weir is ehard to greater advantage in her vocal writing. Natural History sets short 'lessons from nature' Chinese poetry intranslation that suits her delicate scene-painting...
Robert Stein, International Record Review, 3/1/2008

NMC, previously champions of Judith Weir's chamber music, have now brought out this well-filled first disc of her orchestral works- issued to coincide with (regrettably) the last of the BBC Symphony Orchestra's single-composer weekends at the Barbican. The disc shows that Weir's characteristic voice is just as recignisable on the larger scale of the orchestra. There's the same feeling for strong, un-muddy colours and unobstrusive organic growth, the same use of familiar materials in unfamiliar ways to make serious points lightly. What's also evident is the wide range of cultural influences and subject-matter Weir can absorb into her individual sound-world. Of the two vocal pieces here, the song cycle Natural History returns to her long-standing interest in ancient Chinese wisdom, while the choral Moon and Star encompasses Emily Dickinson's eccentrically visionar cosmology. As for the purely orchestral works, The Welcome Arrival of Rain portrays the coming of the Indian monsoon, Forest evokes German Romanticism...and Heroic Strokes of the Bow runns Beethovian energy almost into the ground. The performances, under the ever-reliable martyn Brabbins, are excellent, with Ailish Tynan a personable soloist in Natural History. The readings are clear and bright, like the music itself.
Anthony Burton, BBC Music Magazine, 3/1/2008

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