'Cum sancto spiritu' Johann Sebastian Bach Download ''Cum sancto spiritu'' on iTunes
According to folklore, if it's rainy on St Swithin's Day, it'll rain every day for the following 40 days. At Classic FM we're a pretty optimistic bunch, but if you're unlucky enough to be caught in a shower on 15 July, allow us to recommend a suitably stormy soundtrack for your summer...
The clue's in the nickname with this popular piano piece by Chopin. The repeated A flat pulsing through the texture is thought to sound like repetitive raindrops.
A beautiful and expressive vocal line accompanied by falling chords which imitate the raindrops as they cascade through the trees, reminding the poet of a fairy orchestra. It's taken from his Seks Dikte (Six Songs) for voice and piano, with words by Holger Drachmann.
At the beginning of Wagner's opera, Siegmund emerges from a raging storm. But unlike many musical storms, Wagner's is made all the more eerie by the notable absence of a full orchestra - it's only the strings that unleash the full force of this tempest, with incredible effect.
"What is the fate where the first delights of happiness are not interrupted by some storm…?" Thus reads the cheery opening of the preface on the score of Liszt's orchestral piece. The raging storm passage appears as an interlude between the two main parts of the music.
Britten doesn't do things by halves in his Biblical opera, telling the story of Noah's Ark. Roughly tuned teacups are struck to give the sound of the first raindrops, before a massive musical storm.
This charming song cycle by Finzi sets ten poems by Thomas Hardy, taking its title from the lyrics of the final movement, Proud songsters: "No finches were, nor nightingales, Nor thrushes, But only particles of grain, And earth, and air, and rain."
Britten certainly knew how to write an impressive storm sequence. Ominous booms from the timpani, the sounds of thunder and lightning, and a frenetic tune from the strings characterise the music, taken from his Four Sea Interludes in Peter Grimes.
It's not all fields and flowers in Beethoven's nature-inspired Sixth Symphony. The music gets derailed in the fourth movement with an earth-shattering storm, complete with howling wind and thunder.
Delicate raindrops and unexpected storms - Debussy's impressive piano piece captures an April shower and sets it to music. It's part of his 1903 piece, Estampes, and describes a garden in France being caught in the rain.
Brahms' heart-stoppingly powerful violin sonata doesn't sound all that 'rainy', but it's known as the Rain Sonata as each of the three movements borrow the main motif from Brahms' Regenlied, or Rain Song.
Painting a musical picture of the Scottish landscape, this orchestral overture by Hamish MacCunn takes its title from a poem by Sir Walter Scott: "O Caledonia! stern and wild, Meet nurse for a poetic child! Land of brown heath and shaggy wood, Land of the mountain and the flood…"
Imagine you've been caught in a terrifying storm as you descend a mountain. Strauss captures this emotion with the help of a full orchestra: 12 horns, timpani, a wind machine and thunder sheet provide quite the musical blast.
Crying as the rain drizzles down the window pane is a common idea in pop music, but German Lieder composers also made use of the imagery, like Schubert does in his poignant love song: "Then my eyes filled with tears, And made the mirror ripple. She spoke: "The rain comes, farewell, I am going home."
The fishermen prepare to go to sea, despite warnings of September storms. The final scene of Act II sees a tempest approach, and the characters huddle indoors anxiously, sheltering from the rain.
In this instrumental scene at the beginning of Act IV of Berlioz's opera, Didon and Enée are separated from the rest of the hunting party as a storm breaks. What better excuse for the two lovers to take shelter in a cave together?