Home 9 Composers 9 DAVID RAIN

David Rain (b.1952) is a “late in life” choral composer, having caught the composing bug in his mid-60s.

Professionally, he received English and Law degrees from UBC and a Masters in Development Studies from the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. For 40 years, he worked in the fields of international development and refugee and immigrant support, the last 12 years as a fundraiser.

David has been an amateur singer most of his life, singing with the Christ Church Cathedral boys choir in Vancouver in the 1960s and with the Vancouver Bach Choir in the 1970s. After a 10-year choral hiatus in Tanzania, he settled in Ottawa in 1992 where for 28 years he sang with the Stairwell Carollers.

David began composing in his spare time in 2015 and has written or arranged over 30 songs since. His songs have been performed by a variety of choirs across Canada, as well as the Chamber Choir of Europe.

David is a great fan of Mahler, Bruckner and pioneering Medieval/Renaissance composers. He donates 50% of his income as a composer to two Ottawa charities: OCISO (the Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization) and Orkidstra, an “El Sistema”-inspired program for kids from under-served communities.​

For more information, visit: https://davidrainchoralcomposer.ca/. 


Ave Maria

arr. David Rain

SATB a cappella – CP 1837 – duration 4:15
For decades, my favourite piano piece was a Brahms Intermezzo, Opus 118, No. 2. One day, while playing it on the piano, I thought I could hear a choir singing along! Five years later, after much experimentation, a brand new “Ave Maria” was born. Nicol Matt and his amazing Chamber Choir of Europe gave the world premiere performances in Austria and Germany in July 2019. I was thrilled to have the “Ave Maria” sung at a very special concert honouring John Rutter, who received the European Church Music Award at the European Church Music Festival in Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany.

Good King Wenceslas

by David Rain

SATB a cappella – CP 2223 – duration 3:45
I’ve written a totally new version of Good King Wenceslas! I love the Wenceslas story, but I always struggled with the original song’s placement of “las” (as in Wenceslas) on the downbeat. As a kid, I even thought the words were “Good King Wences last looked out.” Using the 19th century poem by John Mason Neale, I wanted to create a different “feel” to the Wenceslas story, to take it back to its origins in the Middle Ages – hence the medieval touches here and there. Also, the original song was in 4/4, but I felt that a setting in 3/4 would create a better sense of journey, the motive energy behind the story. And the 3/4 time also helps resolve the “Good King Wences last looked out” problem. It allows for the insertion of an extra word, “he”: thus, “Good King Wenceslas, he looked out.” The song is dedicated to my dear uncle Duncan Shaw, whose “retirement project” – developing his own theory of gravity – has been a huge inspiration in my own “late in life” compositional journey.

In natali Domini

arr. David Rain

SATB a cappella – CP 1926 – duration 2:40 

I have dedicated “In natali Domini” to my late mother, Lois Esther Rain, as it was on her CD of medieval three-part songs that I first came across this little gem. My SATB arrangement of this rhythmically exciting piece includes an introduction, a mini-fugue in the third verse, and a rousing coda. Altos in particular will enjoy this piece, as the spotlight is on them in the opening passages. They also get to shine in a duet with the sopranos, where each voice “leapfrogs” over the other, evoking their respective attempts to climb a stairway to heaven. Suitable for Christmas or other seasons.

Psalm 23

by David Rain

SATB a cappella – CP 2019 – duration 3:00
Singers will love this very approachable rendition of the classic poem.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
he leadeth me beside the still waters.

Rideau Carol

by David Rain

SATB a cappella – CP 2185 – duration 4:35  

Singers will love the text painting in this approachable and meaningful Winter/Christmas song – beginning with cascading vocals.  Multiple entrances, echoing phrases, counterpoint and lush harmonies make this a beauty. Short French snippets – easy for any singer – add interest and suggests the culture that David loves so much.
“Rideau Carol,” my very first choral composition, is a sacred/secular love song to the Stairwell Carollers, to whom it is dedicated. While on a marathon training run in 2015, I encountered a sign that said “Chutes Rideau Falls.” Suddenly, the idea of a Christmas carol flashed before my very eyes. It would be bilingual. It would feature popular Ottawa landmarks including Parliament Hill, the National Gallery, Byward Market, and the Rideau Falls. And it would begin with a cascading refrain that contains a play on words: “Chut” in French means “hush” (the baby is sleeping), while “chutes” means waterfalls. D.R.