Labeled a “dramatic vocalise,” Tempest Rhapsody strives to create a complete story, sung by voices but without words. With a maritime theme in mind, the piano evokes a vast and intense restlessness as the chorus writhes on top of this tumultuous aquatic façade. The “tempest” is depicted in stages, beginning ominously in a long crescendo until unleashing its full fury. The piano texture shifts in each stage to become gradually more turbulent. The middle of the work suggests a reprieve from this chaos as the eye of the storm is depicted by a calm, lulling motion and lush harmonies. Ripples and billows of the deep water’s surface are at the forefront of these textures, which alternate moodily between passionate and introspective beauty. Finally, the storm strikes again with its last breath in the form of a long and increasingly dissonant development, leading at last to an exultant release into the sunlight. The music then slowly unwinds itself back to the calmness of its original state, but with a new harmonic perspective. The tempest has left the listener—safe, but undeniably changed.
Look out for the exciting premier of this work by Dr. Crane and his Chamber Singers in spring 2015!