“Shimmer” (2016) for harpsichord and live electronics was inspired by several paintings from the exhibition, “Reflecting Class in the Age of Rembrandt and Vermeer” commissioned by the Nelson Atkins with a premiere performance by Alison DeSimone and Patrick Chan.
Specifically, the music is inspired by themes of wealth and portraiture. Drawing on musical ideas by other Baroque composers including Torelli, Corelli and Sweelinck, I built “Shimmer” off of a chaconne. Like the paintings from the era, vividly evoking sensory experiences, musically I tried to emphasize passing threads of melodic ideas, full of suspension and ornamentation, above all, with an emphasis on gesture. The manipulation of small blocks of sound is a baroque technique that continues throughout contemporary music.
The function of light is most striking throughout this exhibition. While “Shimmer” is inspired by many paintings in the exhibit, the following two works resonated most with me: Unknown artist, Distribution of Bread in Almhouse (1627)and Gerrit van Honthorst, Amalia van Solms (1632).
Duration: 6:19 minutes