What inspired my track, “The Portrait”

It was a portrait of a boy, dressed in the finest apparel in a rather bright setting, sitting at a desk of mahogany. Architectural diagrams filled the walls. A gramophone, the first recorder to use disks, lay on his desk. Around him were books, literature ranging from mathematics to great classics. Trophies for the arts, athletics, and public speaking surrounded him. It was obvious that this was a portrait of a Renaissance boy. Benigno glanced at every inch of the portrait, and finally gazed at the face. To his utter shock, the boy was smiling. To Benigno, it was more like a smirk. Benigno froze. Were the portraits themselves laughing at him also? Was he that fit for mockery?

Return of Darkness, Ch 2
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Boy and Rabbit (1814), Henry Raeburn, oil on canvas

My track, The Portrait, was released Oct. 17 and is both on SoundCloud and YouTube. The track is based off of the quote above. The author of the blog commissioned original soundtracks and drawings for her novel project, and this is one of my first tracks for the project. I meant for the track to be both a reflection of the portrait’s subject and the character, Benigno.

The YouTube video contains actual portraits of boys from Roman times to the early 19th century. None of them quite fit the description of the quote, but I chose these portraits because A) they’re public domain and B)they contain something that is similar to the one described in the novel.

As for why I chose harp and cello? I love the harp, but I was unable to use it for previous tracks because it didn’t quite fit any of the moods. I finally placed the harp here because it creates a tranquil mood, and the note progression gives a hypnotizing sensation, just as Benigno is drawn to the portrait in the story. I chose the cello for its rich, deep sound that matches the personality of the boy and Benigno.

I hope you enjoy the track as much as I have enjoyed composing it. Coming up next will be a post on Wind Flower, a piece centered on the character FengHua Nakasone, and I will be mixing influences from traditional Chinese, Korean, and Japanese music styles to compose this piece.

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