“To echo the springtime colors and soft, warm textures present in this gorgeous painting, the setting for this music is A major, arguably one of the ‘brighter’ tone centers, which seeks to capture the sunlight and blossoming of the May day depicted in this work.
“The melodic motifs center primarily around the Lydian mode (the major scale but with a raised 4th degree). This evokes the feeling of an even lighter, airy quality to the melodic statements, mixed with the A major-F#min-D major chord progression in the beginning.
“Musical techniques include motivic development of the theme, juxtaposing different melodic ‘colors’ over changing chords, and chord voicings which gradually become slightly more impressionistic, inspired by the works of composers Maurice Ravel and Federico Mompou. The music mostly seeks to capture the feeling of being in this depicted moment, with Impressionism and verdancy as aesthetic guides.”
About the Artwork
Artist: Alfred Juergens, American, 1866-1934
Medium: Oil on canvas
Credit Line: Gift of Patricia Davies Pierce
Object Number: 2016.33
Collection of the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts – Visit website
About the Musician
Elden Kelly is a guitarist exploring the intersection of jazz, classical and world music. He also works as singer-songwriter, composer, arranger and multi-instrumentalist, spanning the genres of contemporary improvisation, fusion, sound design and global styles.
Kelly holds a Master of Music degree from Michigan State and a Bachelor of Music degree from New England Conservatory of Music. He is the instructor of Jazz Guitar at Kalamazoo College.