Friends of the Gamelan • Music Sampler

Ketawang gendhing PURNOMO SIDHI laras sléndro pathet sångå
Friends of the Gamelan • Spring 2011 • Joko Sutrisno, guest artistic director
K.R.T. Wasitodiningrat (also known as Pak Cokro; 1909-2007) composed ketawang gendhing Purnomo Sidhi, completing it in 1984 while living in Valencia, California. Pak Cokro had a long career and was one of the most highly respected performers of gamelan music. He led palace and radio gamelan orchestras, taught gamelan at universities in the United States and throughout the world, and prolifically composed and arranged gamelan music. Pak Cokro became a member of the music faculty of California Institute of the Arts in 1972. Lou Harrison, the western gamelan scholar and composer, commissioned this piece, the title of which can be translated as the magical power of the full moon.

Ladrang KAPI DHONDHONG laras pélog pathet nem
Friends of the Gamelan • Spring 2010 • Joko Sutrisno, guest artistic director
This ladrang was composed during the reign of Susuhunan Paku Buwono V, King of Surakarta from 1820 to 1823. It has a fresh, joyful mood that is reinforced by interlocking melodic patterns, called imbal, played by the two bonangs (rows of small kettle gongs) with ornamentation (sekaran) at the end of a melodic sequence. After the initial section is repeated a number of times, the tempo slows to a quarter of the original speed but speeds up again to conclude. The vocal text is very old Javanese poetry, which is difficult to translate because of the many hidden meanings throughout the text. The title may be interpreted as "like a sour fruit."

MERAK SUBAL laras pélog pathet barang
Friends of the Gamelan • Spring 2012 • Joko Sutrisno, guest artistic director
Merak Subal accompanies Tari Merak, the peacock dance, which has many variants throughout Southeast Asia. It is a modern dance that uses many classical dance idioms to depict the Java green peacock, which in nature has an elaborate dance ritual. Although we may think of the bird as haughty, ill-tempered, and noisy, in Java it is perceived as cheerful and undeniably beautiful. The graceful movements of the dancers illustrate these characteristics. The peacock dancers are always female, even though they are portraying a male bird.

Bubaran SUMARAH laras sléndro pathet manyurå
Friends of the Gamelan • Spring 2011 • Joko Sutrisno, guest artistic director
Ladrang Sumarah is used here as a bubaran, a short piece played at the end of a program. A bubaran leaves the joyous sound of gamelan ringing in your ears as you depart.

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