Composed: 1998 (revised 2000)
Commission:  Fortnightly Musical Club of Cleveland
Premiere: 10/24/99 Kathryn Brown, The Cleveland Institute of Music New Music Ensemble, Cleveland, OH (before revision)
Premiere: 6/6/01 Leon Bates, (entire revised work) Tapestry: Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH.
Duration: 19 minutes
Instrumentation:  Solo piano


I. They sing their dearest songs... and one to play
II. And they build a shady seat...Ah, no; the years, the years
III. See the white storm-birds wing across!   

This work explores the reaction to personal loss so profoundly expressed in the poem During Wind and Rain by Thomas Hardy.  The first movement utilizes one pitch cell throughout in two contrasting ways.  The first is aggressive, rhythmic, driving and rumbling, while the other is lyrical, melodic and tender.  The second movement is reflective, distant and introverted; an expression of sadness in the style of a siciliano.  The sections are repeated in the tradition of this old dance form, and yet, even though identical pitch sets are used, the music is transformed.  The third movement begins without pause, somewhat tentatively and hesitantly and then rushes furiously forward.  Bursts of anger alternate with more temperate sadness.  The first movement of this work was commissioned by the Fortnightly Musical Club of Cleveland for their 25th year of commissioning new works and premiered in 1999. 

During Wind and Rain, By Thomas Hardy
They sing their dearest songs--
He, she, all of them--yea,
Treble and tenor and bass,
And one to play;
With the candles mooning each face....
Ah, no; the years O!
How the sick leaves reel down in throngs!

They clear the creeping moss--
Elders and juniors--aye,
Making the pathways neat
And the garden gay;
And they build a shady seat....
Ah, no; the years, the years;
See the white storm-birds wing across!

They are blithely breakfasting all--
Men and maidens--yea,
Under the summer tree,
With a glimpse of the bay,
While pet fowl come to the knee....
Ah, no; the years O!
And the rotten rose is ript from the wall.

They change to a high new house,
He, she, all of them --aye,
Clocks and carpets and chairs
On the lawn all day,
And brightest things that are theirs....
Ah, no; the years, the years;
Down their carved names the rain-drop ploughs.


"...You may think for a moment of Samuel Barber - his "Summer Music" also flits by unexpectedly in some of the chamber works here - but this 18-minute work should really be a standard repertoire piece for any pianists who like expressive, but organized music from the last 100 years. The work is built from the smallest cells - a handful of intervals - but they are used to generate anything from percussive display to Romantic yearning. The percussive parts somehow avoid sounding like fake Prokofiev while keeping something of his "Classical" rigor, and sulphurous energy; the slower sections are not sentimental; the leaping, virtuoso writing and metrical switches sound highly individual, but again stay within recognizably tonal bounds. There are big feelings in play, but just about held in check here: Kathryn Brown plays as if her life were on the line, and despite the poetic references, Brouwer's music again speaks straight, and for itself. 'I like to express myself through the language of music much more than through words.'" -Paul Ingram, Fanfare: The Magazine for Serious Record Collectors, May/June 2004

"Cascading figures rub shoulders with dreamy lyricism in the opening movement. These give way to the second movement's songful resignation and the third's ominous, angry lines and fugal hints." - Donald Rosenberg, The Plain Dealer, 2001

"Margaret Brouwer...contributed a three-movement piano sonata ('Under the Summer Tree...') that stayed within the boundaries of classical form but treated the keyboard like a contemporary source of linear themes and percussive sonorities. The opening allegro was strong enough to stand alone. But the additional movements, an introspective dialogue followed by a punchy toccata, effectively expanded the scale of the work, which was given a virtuoso performance by CIM faculty pianist Kathryn Brown."  - Wilma Salisbury, The Plain Dealer, October 1999