RAIN WORTHINGTON: “Dream Vapors” = var. works – Navona

RAIN WORTHINGTON: “Dream Vapors” = Shredding Glass; Reversing Mirrors in the Quiet; Tracing a Dream; Fast Through Dark Winds; Within a Dance; Yet Still Night; Of Time Remembered – Czech Philharmonic Orch./Robert Ian Winstin/Moravian Philharmonic Orch./Petr Vronsky/Russian Philharmonic Orch./Ovidiu Marinescu – Navona NV6025 [Distr. by Parma], 52:58, (2/12/16) ***1/2:


Very pleasant works from this emerging composer.

Rain Worthington is a very talented and forthright composer who comes from a very unusual background as she doesn’t have any real formal training in composition and, therefore, does not hold any university position or the like. Her passion for music, especially that for orchestra, has allowed her to use what seems like a great deal of natural talent to produce some very fine work; including these pieces here. Rain’s music has been performed in venues from private lofts to concert halls in the United States and across Spain, India, Iceland, and Brazil. Worthington lives in upper New York state and serves as the Artistic Administrator/Composer Advocate for New York Women Composers, Inc., which advocates for the new music of woman composers. She previously was active in the Manhattan new music scene for more than 25 years promoting her music, while her own background certainly did not fit the established model.

What I have heard of her music I like. This album Dream Vapors is her first full-length solo album and each of these pieces is very attention-getting. As an example, the opening work, Shredding Glass, is a very atmospheric work that has an element of soundtrack to it with its rather mysterious and inviting chromaticism.

If felt similarly positive about Yet Still Night with textures and harmonies that do evoke the ‘nocturnal’ as the composer’s structure indicates. There is a tendency in all of these pieces, perhaps all of Worthington’s music, to be somewhat quiet, more than a little reflective and she employs titles that are picturesque and evocative to be sure.

Her compositional voice is pretty unique, although there are shades of Debussy, of Takemitsu, perhaps, and certainly a generic “film score” quality to them. In some ways, each of these works contains the same moods; the same ‘feel.’ For me, this is not a bad thing.

I find each of these pieces very interesting and attention-getting. Rain’s music is a bit hard to describe. There are elements of mysticism, of raw emotion and a palate that is reminiscent of several other voices. In fact, I think she should explore the venue of film scoring; I think she would be great in that realm. I cannot pick a “favorite” work in this collection nor is there a weak point. I liked all of these works and the only one I had heard before is Of Time Remembered (previously released on Navona Records “Paradigms”, NV5880.)

I think it is probably true that Rain Worthington has had a tough time getting listened to or taken seriously due to her lack of “insider” training (although I would love to know her actual formal background). Hopefully, this new and very interesting album will cause some conductors and performers and even some movie types to take notice for it is hard to ignore.

As a footnote, the composer has directed that all proceeds from the purchase of the Dream Vapors album to be donated through PARMA Recordings to the “Cure Alzheimer’s Fund” (a cutting-edge research public charity registered under the name, Alzheimer’s Disease Research Foundation). I certainly support that effort as well as Rain’s lovely and fascinating music.

—Daniel Coombs

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