Boulder-based violist Matthew Dane fell in love a few years ago with the sound of the viola d’amore. The instrument was popular in the Baroque era. Dane version has 14 strings -- seven "playing" strings, and seven more that resonate.
Most viola d’amore players focus on Baroque music -- which is what makes "Nishani," the piece in this clip, so unusual. Dane commissioned the music from Indian-American composer Reena Esmail, who’s based in Los Angeles.
It’s a solo piece with an unusually immersive sound. Dane explores a series of simple variations throughout the composition while playing with the distinctive, high-pitched overtones of the viola d’amore.
“Nishani” shows off the viola d’amore’s unique sound and the composer’s singular voice. Watch the video above.