Yiruma: Kiss the Rain
Yiruma, born Lee Ru-ma, is a South Korean-British composer and pianist. Born in 1978 in South Korea, Yiruma moved to England in 1988 to study at the prestigious Purcell School of Music, and then at King’s College London where he studied composition. Whilst studying at King’s, Yiruma released his first solo piano album, Love Scene, with DECCA records.
His most popular album to date was released in 2001, First Love, which features Yiruma’s famous works Till I Find You and River Flows in You on it. The latter became and has remained Yiruma’s number one hit throughout his career. It has been featured in TV advertisements, films and is often performed around the world. His 2003 album From the Yellow Room features one of his other famous piano works Kiss the Rain.
Although sometimes described as ‘new-age’ and ‘new-classical’ in genre, Yiruma firmly believes his works reflect that of the popular music world, whilst also paying homage to classical forms before him. His persistence with the solo piano genre has allowed his music to be more widely accepted in modern media, as the structure is often reflective of popular music. This widely-accepted sub-form of classical music has become very popular with other composers such as Ludovico Einaudi and Jon E Amber producing music of a similar vein.
Kiss the Rain is largely known for being part of the soundtrack for the Korean film A Millionaire’s First Love. The soft lullaby style of this piece reflects the style that Yiruma is typically known for. Opening with a soft lullaby melody in the right hand in the upper octave of the piano, Kiss the Rain’s atmosphere is set out very quickly. As the texture begins to thicken with the addition of the lower hand, the melody begins to take a journey of development.
Yiruma’s signature light touch throughout makes sure that this piece is never heavy, even when the texture becomes richer. As the melody line is repeated in various octaves, Yiruma subtly changes small aspects of the melody to show development throughout. Be it rhythm, harmony or texture, the music keeps moving along. As the texture becomes richer with the development of the accompanying hand the intensity builds before slowly dissolving back into the precious opening lullaby.
Yiruma’s Kiss the Rain is one of his most popular works for solo piano. It truly encapsulates his signature style with the lullaby theme and the delicate atmosphere. A serene and fragile work for solo piano that is surely timeless.
“I hope that my music doesn’t separate from your lives. Instead, I want it to be with you always, as if it’s the background music to your lives.” – Yiruma
Ⓒ Alex Burns