In composer, Charlemagne Palestine’s loft in an old spice warehouse where the pungent smells of oregano and thyme drift through the air, Rain Worthington sat down at a Bösendorfer grand piano that stood alone in the middle of room. The audience of fellow downtown artists – composers, painters, writers, sculptors – sat closely together in the dark on old wooden plank boards around the grand piano. A large reel-to-reel tape recorder situated on the floor directly under the piano was turned on and Rain began the first notes of a haunting solo performance. This archival solo piano concert recording leads the listener on a soulful journey through a soundscape that is both minimal and lush, meditative and suspenseful.
Rain’s earliest memory of playing piano was when she was about three years old and living with her grandparents in West Virginia. Waking up before anyone in the house, she would tiptoe out to the old upright piano in the living room and begin to play softly on the keys. In her mid-twenties, Rain rediscovered her love of the piano. With no formal musical training, she began improvising on a turn-of-the-century Briggs upright bought at an antique store. Her early solo piano works were composed by exploring and improvising directly on the piano. The process was intuitive – introducing a phrase, repeating it until it “takes hold” as a constant rhythm, gradually replacing the memory of the previous one, while generating an anticipation for change through the intrinsic tension of insistent repetition, and then breaking into a new phrase or variation. She performed these solo piano works from memory in concerts at pioneering music venues in Soho and Tribeca that were part of the New York City downtown music scene of the late 1970’s.
Rain now composes for full orchestra and chamber ensembles, as well as solo instruments.