Rain Drums David Lumsdaine
Drumming on the leaves, drumming on the river
drumming on the metal roof—
I am the cloud sweeping across the bay,
I am the wind.
In the Oriental Museum at Durham, there is a most beautiful pewter rain drum from Thailand. On several occasions, I've happily imagined what this drum and its fellows (for, originally, it would have been one of a set) could have sounded like when played by the rain in the course of one of the quieter monsoon storms. While I was teaching at Durham University, this moved me to compose a framework for improvisation with my students. I always intended to come back to some of these ideas and through compose them within a tighter framework. Many years later, I was reminded of the rain drum piece while composing the percussion parts which structure the choruses in A Garden of Earthly Delights. By happy chance, the invitation from Synergy to compose a work for four percussion players coincided with my resolve to finally realise the idea.
Rain drums lasts 12 minutes. It was commissioned by Synergy with the assistance of funds provided by Australia Council, and first performed by them in Sydney, 1994.
- Sydney, September 1994