Double Rainbow

Tracks 17-19 DOUBLE RAINBOW (2017)

Concerto for two pianos and orchestra | Performed by Michael Shinn, piano I; Jessica Chow Shinn, piano II; Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra with Andrew Sewell, conductor

DOUBLE RAINBOW is based on an experience I had with my family on the Isle of Palms, South Carolina about 20 years ago.¬†On this particular August day, there was a huge rain in the early afternoon, many dark clouds, thunder (but no lightning). After the storm, from the porch of our beach rental house, we saw not one, but two rainbows. My sister-in-law is an avid photographer, and so she coaxed us all down onto the beach so she could get a pristine angle. That alone might have been enough inspiration for a piece of music, but when we got to the water’s edge, as Julia was snapping her photos, a dolphin jumped out of the water in a vertical launch, the tail clearing the water’s surface. It was one of those moments that seemed so unbelievable that none of us said a word.

I have always been fascinated by the search for the elusive “perfect moment,” and DOUBLE RAINBOW is a sort of study of that kind of exploration. It is all bound up in the idea of “doubleness,” represented by the two pianos. It is divided into three movements: (Track 18) “Surfaces” (exploring the accumulation of drops of water from tiny, atomized particles), (Track 19) “Disturbances” (exploring imbalances and the storms that result from them), and (Track 20) “Revelation” (of the Double Rainbow). Not surprising in a double concerto, there is a great deal of dialogue between the pianos, and the orchestra has more of an accompanying role in the first two movements. The final movement is different, though. Everybody is in, and the music pulses with magic. The movement seems to be headed for a big climax, but at the last moment, it suddenly slows down and there are stars.

Recorded March 21/22, 2019 at The Capitol Theater, Madison, Wisconsin. Audio engineers: Audio for the Arts, engineers Buzz Kemper and Audrey Martinovich; audioforthearts.com/team.html

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