It's almost officially summer and I'd like to begin it with a review of a wonderfully appropriate piece by Ben Crosland called "First Rain of Summer". I came across this piece a few months ago and was really impressed. I think it's one of the most well-crafted and beautiful modern classical piano pieces I've heard in a long while.
The pieces begins with an energetic splash of notes that, to me, represent the first sprinkles of a summer rain so perfectly it would make Debussy jealous. Just like a rainstorm the intensity grows a bit before we're finally hit with this beautiful washing melody that rains down on the accompaniment.
The piece gets more solemn as the sky gets darker. There's a development of the introductory melody that alternates between a melancholic minor theme and rays of sunshine bursting through in the major. The piece grows in intensity as if there are rumbles of thunder and flashes of lightening. The pleasant theme from the beginning returns, although somewhat changed, as if the last drops of the new rain are coming to an end.
One of the reasons I love this piece so much is that it reminds me of the imaginative writing of the impressionists and yet remains modern and relevant in its execution. Crosland does a remarkable job of stating his theme and then developing it throughout the piece. The motoric accompaniment and the memorable melody give this piece so much energy and playfulness it's hard not to like it. I recommend you check out this piece and the whole album Songs from Rainbow Hill. I think you'll quickly become a fan.