X

The Rain in the Trees

(

1993

 

FOR FLUTE, SOPRANO AND ORCHESTRA

(REVISED FOR SOPRANO AND ORCHESTRA — 2000)

 

Commissioned: by Kay Logan for the Chautauqua Institute; written for Carol WIncenc and Barbara Hendricks

Premiere: April 26, 1993; Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra; Lorin Maazel, conductor; Barbara Hendricks, soprano; Carol Wincenc, flute

 

Orchestra Instrumentation: 3.3.3.3-4.2.3.1-timp-vibes-harp-pno-strings

Publisher: Schott Helicon Music Corporation (BMI)

Duration: 30’

 

 

The Rain in the Trees

W.S. Merwin

 

 

I. Witness

I want to tell what the forests

were like

 

I will have to speak

in a forgotten language

 

Text © 1988 by W.S. Merwin. Reproduced by permission of Georges Borchardt Inc. for the author. All rights reserved.

 

 

II. Native Trees

 

Neither my father nor my mother knew

the names of the trees

where I was born

what is that

I asked and my

father and mother did not

hear they did not look where I pointed

surfaces of furniture held

the attention of their fingers

and across the room they could watch

walls they had forgotten

where there were no questions

no voices and no shade

 

Were there trees

where they were children

where I had not been

I asked

were there trees in those places

where my father and my mother were born

and in that time did

my father and my mother see them

and when they said yes it meant

they did not remember

What were they I asked what were they

but both my father and my mother

said they never knew

 

Text © 1988 by W.S. Merwin. Reproduced by permission of Georges Borchardt Inc. for the author. All rights reserved.

 

 

III. To the Insects

 

Elders

 

we have been here so short a time

and we pretend that we have invented memory

 

we have forgotten what it is like to be you

who do not remember us

 

we remember imagining that what survived us

would be like us

 

and would remember the world as it appears to us

but it will be your eyes that will fill with light

 

we kill you again and again

and we turn into you

 

eating the forests

eating the earth and the water

 

and dying of them

departing from ourselves

 

leaving you the morning

in its antiquity

 

Text © 1988 by W.S. Merwin. Reproduced by permission of Georges Borchardt Inc. for the author. All rights reserved.

 

 

IV. Place

 

On the last day of the world

I would want to plant a tree

 

what for

not for the fruit

 

the tree that bears the fruit

is not the one that was planted

 

I want the tree that stands

in the earth for the first time

 

with the sun already

going down

 

and the water

touching its roots

 

in the earth full of the dead

and the clouds passing

 

one by one

over its leaves

 

Text © 1988 by W.S. Merwin. Reproduced by permission of Georges Borchardt Inc. for the author. All rights reserved.

 

For flute, soprano and orchestra
(revised for soprano and orchestra — 2000)

3.3.3.3-4.2.3.1-timp-vibes-harp-pno-strings
30’