There will come soft rains
The Latest Update
There Will Come Soft Rains Awarded Recording Grant from CSUF- Receives Academic Honors by CSU System
Pamela Madsen’s Oratorio for the Earth: There Will Come Soft Rains Awarded Grant for recording and Systemwide CSU Honors for significant Creative, Scholarly, Research Project. The project will be recorded by Los Angeles Percussion Quartet, Vicki Ray, Ashley Bathgate, Lyris Quartet for a new CD to be released by NAXOS/Parma Records in 2019. TwoSense: Ashley Bathgate and Lisa Moore commissioned a new work from the project: The Consecrating Mother which will be premiered and recorded in February 2019. Check out the links for the recordings from the premieres this past year.
There Will Come Soft Rains was also selected to be presented as a significant creative, scholarly project to the Board of Trustees and the CSU System, and receiving academic honors for it’s significance as a interarts collaborative project. Here’s part of the presentation:
Can art save the planet? Can music connect us to the earth? How can we instigate environmental change though the arts? With this project we hope to inspire generations of artists to connect with the environment and create new collaborative art works about the need for water and the meaning of rain. This project strives to inspire action from both scientists and artist to create social change through their research and documentation of the environment. By creating these multi-media sonic landscape art works we seek to preserve and comment on the fragile nature of water in the Mojave Desert Preserve. Educationally interdisciplinary—we will in turn be implementing art to fund science, and hence science to help preserve nature, and give artists landscapes to paint, reflect upon and sing about.
There will come soft rainsis a 90-minute, multi-movement multi-media oratorio for the earth funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, New Music USA and CSUF. CSUF faculty composer Pamela Madsen created this project for percussion, strings, voices, with projected images and sounds, in collaboration with world-renowned commissioning performers, video artists, and CSUF Music and Video Arts students.
“There will come soft rains” reflects upon the need for water and the meaning of rain in California, through engaging in active Deep Listening in the environment, and reflection upon issues of social justice, global ecology, and our connection to the earth.
Inspired by the post-apocalyptic short story by Ray Bradbury: There Will Come Soft Rains, the California Diaries of Anais Nin and Mary Hunter Austin’s chronicle of her adventures in early California Mojave Desert: The Land of Little Rain, this work uses image, music and text to tell a story of hope and promise, destruction and foreboding for the future.
By creating and participating in art works about the environment, CSUF students become aware of the issues of global warming and climate change and their creative potential to make a difference through arts advocacy.
Pamela Madsen is composer in residence in the Mojave Desert Preserve at CSU Desert Studies Center at ZZYZX working with the commissioning performers, ensembles and video artists and CSUF students to create, document and collect sounds and images for this work.
“As an Oratorio, this work is unique in that it focuses on the sound and setting of spoken text, combined with instruments, field recordings and videos of the environment, and sung text. The work captures the sonic landscape of the wilderness of the desert southwest, juxtaposed with the mid-century utopian fascination for the future, weaving a narrative of concern for human rights, social justice, women, nature and threat of imminent world destruction. Themes are manifested through texts concerning marginalization of indigenous cultures and desecration of women and nature correlated with concerns for the destruction of the environment. As a composer who works in Deep Listening, I try to capture the unique immersive sonic landscape experience of the desert environment: the sounds of water and fluidity of performance are juxtaposed against images of dry, rigid, inactive silence coupled with the starkness and scarcity of sound in the desert landscape.” Pamela Madsen
Supporting artists include:
Los Angeles Percussion Quartet
Cory Hills, percussionist /spoken voice, Los Angeles
Vanessa Tomlinson, percussionist/spoken voice, Australia
Vicki Ray, pianist, Los Angeles
Ashley Bathgate, cellist from Bang on a Can, NYC
Lyris String Quartet, Los Angeles
Quintan Ana Wikswo, Video Artist/poet, New Mexico
Supporting Cal State University Groups include:
Cal State Fullerton New Music Ensemble
Cal State Fullerton Symphony Orchestra and University Singers
Cal State Fullerton Music Composition and Video Arts Students
CSU Desert Studies Center, Zzyzx, Mojave Desert Preserve
Professor Pamela Madsen, Composer, CSUF
Professor Julie Orser, Video Artist, CSUF
Professor Darren Sandquist, Director CSU Desert Studies Center
There Will Come Soft Rains Awarded NEA Art Works Award
Images and sounds from the Mojave Desert wed music in Pamela Madsen’s new five-movement oratorio, “There Will Come Soft Rains.” The National Endowment for the Arts has approved an Art Works award to the professor of music for her multimedia piece.
Madsen’s concert-length work will feature percussion, strings, orchestra, voices, video and electronics. She and selected video artists will be in residence at the California State University Desert Studies Center in Zzyzx, located within the Mojave National Preserve. Cal State Fullerton provides administrative oversight of the center.
The professor of music also will be a guest composer at Crystal Cove Conservancy, the nonprofit public benefit partner to Crystal Cove State Park, where she will work with selected ensembles and Cal State Fullerton students to document sounds and images for the composition.
“This new, sonic landscape work explores the 20th-century fascination for utopian salvation in California, the need for water and the meaning of rain,” says Madsen, who also received a New Music USA projects grants award for the project.
Her work also will serve as a model for students participating in the Cal State Fullerton College of the Arts’ InterArts Collaborative Projects Symposium.
“There Will Come Soft Rains” will premiere in spring 2018, with outreach activities, lectures and demonstrations through spring 2019. Selected ensembles scheduled to perform the composition include the Los Angeles Percussion Quartet and the CSUF Symphony Orchestra and University Singers with guest artists. The work was commissioned by the Los Angeles Percussion Quartet; percussionist Cory Hills; cellists Maggie Parkins and Ashley Bathgate; the Eclipse String Quartet; the CSUF Symphony Orchestra; and the University Singers. Madsen will collaborate with visual artist Quintan Ana Wikswo.
There will come soft rains is a 90 minute, multi-movement oratorio for the earth by composer Pamela Madsen for percussion, strings, voices, projected images and sounds, created in collaboration with performers and video artists. “There will come soft rains” reflects upon the need for Deep Listening in the wilderness, social justice and the global ecology of self-consciousness; resonance of the human body and our connection to the earth, and the need for water and the meaning of rain. Supporting artists who have committed include:
- Los Angeles Percussion Quartet
- Cory Hills, percussionist /spoken voice
- Vanessa Tomlinson, percussionist/spoken voice, Australia
- Ashley Bathgate, cellist from Bang on a Can (BOAC), NYC
- Eclipse String Quartet, Los Angeles
- Quintan Ana Wikswo, Video Artist/poet, New Mexico
- Cal State Fullerton New Music Ensemble
Pamela Madsen is composer in residence in the Mojave Desert Preserve at CSU Desert Studies Center at ZZYZX working with the commissioning performers, ensembles and video artists to create, document and collect sounds and images for this work. As an Oratorio, this work is unique in that it focuses on the sound and setting of spoken text, combined with instruments, electronics, video and sung text. The work captures the sonic landscape of the wilderness of the desert southwest, juxtaposed with the mid-century utopian fascination for the future, weaving a narrative of concern for human rights, social justice, women, nature and threat of imminent world destruction.
Themes are manifested through texts concerning marginalization of indigenous cultures and desecration of women and nature correlated with concerns for the destruction of the environment. In these works, the sounds of water and fluidity of performance are juxtaposed against images of dry, rigid, inactive silence coupled with the scarcity of sound in the desert landscape.
- WUPATKI: Houses of the Enemies (2013/2018) for Los Angeles Percussion Quartet, Eclipse String Quartet, Vicki Ray, pianist and Quintan Ana Wikswo Video-To be premiered February, 2018
- The Land of Little Rain: Water Trails of the Ceriso, Scavengers-57 Buzzards-text by Southwest Desert conservationist Mary Hunter Austin (1903). For Eclipse String Quartet, c. 12 minutes To be premiered, February 21, 2018
- For the year of the insane-Eclipse String Quartet, electronics and voices, to be premiered, February 21, 2018
- Why women weep: based on The Diary of Anais Nin, vol. 5, (1955) for cellist Ashley Bathgate for cello, spoken voices, projected sounds and images. premiered February 22, 2017
- There will come soft rains, poem by Sarah Teasdale (1920) for solo percussion and spoken voice, Cory Hills, percussionist, LAPQ, spoken voice, projected sounds and images. premiered February 25, 2017
- There will come soft rains-August 2026 based on the 1950 dystopian short story by science fiction author Ray Bradbury for percussion quartet. To be premiered February 21, 2018
- Lost Horse Mine: for Los Angeles Percussion Quartet, Eclipse String Quartet, Vicki Ray pianist, voice, to be premiered February 21, 2018
- There will be stars poem by Sara Teasdale (1920) in memory of Pauline Oliveros, for Cory Hills, Vanessa Tomlinson, CSUF New Music Ensemble. Premiered February 25, 2017
Riverly is the Moon for solo clarinet and video, Pamela Madsen commissioned, premiered, recorded by clarinetist Virginia Figueiredo. Video animation by Jimena Sarno, images and photos of the blood moon by Carolyn Yarnell. Based on materials from the 14th century Llibre Vermell, and my encounter with the icon of the Black Madonna as resident composer at Montserrat, Spain. The full concert length work: Luminous Etudes received a New Music USA project award with premiere by loadbang, Kathleen Supove, Eleonor Sandresky, pianist, voices, 2016.
Los Angeles Percussion Quartet (LAPQ)
LAPQ Performs “The Year Before Yesterday” by Shaun Naidoo. This is the title track from their album on Sono Luminus. Similar in texture and instrumentation to the works I will be composing for LAPQ for this project.
The video also features Cory Hills, as part of LAPQ who I am working with to compose the solo work “There will come soft rains” and the ensemble work “There will be stars”
Ashley Bathgate, Cellist
American cellist Ashley Bathgate has been described as an “eloquent new music interpreter”(New York Times) “a glorious cellist”(The Washington Post) who combines “bittersweet lyricism along with ferocious chops”(New York Magazine).Her “impish ferocity”, “rich tone” and “imaginative phrasing” (New York Times) have made her one of the most sought after performers of her time.
This video illustrates Ashley’s intense collaborative process with composers Julia Wolfe, Ted Hearne and others.
Start and End Dates
02/22/2017 — 06/30/2018
Los Angeles, California