Music from SEAMUS Vol. 2

Barroco from Excavations (1991) Alissa Rhode, harpsichord

Barry Schrader’s Barroco is for the extremely unusual combination of harpsichord and electronics, and is the second section of a two movement work for this duo called Excavations. This piece is in what Schrader calls “reverse entropy” form, meaning that fragments of material from the opening come back in bits and pieces before settling into less chaotic repetitions. The opening features chords alternating between harpsichord and electronics, with the timbral difference mimicking the sound of different stops pulled on an organ. These chords break into a quasi-style brisé texture, with the two instruments locked in pointillistic hocketing with increasing melodic imitation. Hints of Baroque music are heard in common cadential figures, though no actual quotes are used. Slowly and patiently, the texture grows in activity and density, leaving chaos behind and ending in settled, unison repetition. 

-N. Beckmann