For some Indonesians, gamelan has high philosophical values, in terms of sound, roles, and the feelings of the players. Playing gamelan is not just the ability to play various musical instruments together, thus giving birth to the harmony of tones and rhythms.
But also, by playing the gamelan there is a meaning that describes the system of deliberation and consensus in the midst of society, through each gamelan musical instrument. Gamelan symbolizes the spirit of cohesiveness and mutual cooperation, together, and in line. So that it gives birth to a harmonious tone in social life. In Indonesia, gamelan accompanies many cultural activities such as:.
Under the influence of the Hindu-Buddhist Majapahit kingdom , gamelan was used as accompaniment in religious ceremonies with tembang singing and wayang performances. Even an accompaniment to a king's performance.
In the Negarakertagama manuscripts written by Mpu Prapanca in the 14th century. It is said that the gamelan accompaniment was used by King Hayam Wuruk in performing a mask dance with eight young people accompanied by a song from the Queen Mother. With the collapse of the Majapahit kingdom and being replaced by the Islamic kingdom of Demak led by Raden Patah , gamelan as a traditional musical instrument did not just disappear.
Its function is used as a media tool for preaching Islam. Gamelan's role in rituals is so important that there is a Javanese saying, "It is not official until the gong is hung".
Certain gamelans are associated with specific rituals, such as the Gamelan Sekaten , which is used in the celebration of Mawlid an-Nabi Muhammad 's birthday. In Bali , almost all religious rituals include gamelan performance.
Gamelan is also used in the ceremonies of the Catholic church in Indonesia. When an "ending" piece such as " Udan Mas " is begun, the audience will know that the event is nearly finished and will begin to leave. Certain pieces are also believed to possess magic powers and can be used to ward off evil spirits. The community was very enthusiastic about listening to the strains of the heirloom gamelan, on 26 November Melasti , a self-purification ceremony to welcome Nyepi by all Hindus in Bali.
This ceremony is held on the beach with the aim of purifying oneself from all bad deeds. Galungan , a Balinese holiday celebrating the victory of dharma over adharma in Besakih temple complex in Karangasem , Bali , Indonesia. Gamelan is used to accompany various traditional ceremonies in Indonesia, gamelan kodhok ngorek, gamelan monggang, gamelan carabalen, and gamelan ageng are used for important ceremonies related to kings in the Yogyakarta and Surakarta palaces such as the king's coronations ceremony, the king's birthday ceremony, the coronation anniversary, royal guest reception, baby birth , marriage, death, and so on.
Outside the palace in Java, gamelan is used for Wedding reception , birth ceremonies, circumcision ceremonies, rice harvesting, ruwatan ceremonies, and death ceremonies dhukitan. The musical presentation in the dhukitan ceremony in the general public is different from that in Palace. Gendhing at dhukitan ceremonies in the palace use the kodhok ngorek gamelan instrument, only intended for the death of the king and his family and only served when the corpse departs to the cemetery.
Meanwhile, gendhing offerings at duhkitan ceremonies in the general public outside the palace environment are usually served at the time of the death of musical artists of dance, musical puppetry, wayang orang, cultural observers, and theater using the gamelan gadhon ensemble.
Ngaben , the Hindu funeral ceremony of Bali , Indonesia. It is performed to release the soul of a dead person. Wedding Ceremony, Javanese Wedding ceremony in Java. Almost all dances originating from the island of Java and Bali are accompanied by gamelan music. Gamelan gives spirit and beauty to live dance performances.
The beautiful sound of the gamelan music brings dance to life and graceful to see. The main function of the gamelan as a dance accompaniment is to provide rhythm, beat, or tempo guidance. So that the selection of accompanying music must be adjusted to the rhythm and theme of the dance. Dance performance using live gamelan is a complex artistic activity. Gamelan in dance is used as an illustration or support for the atmosphere. The accompanying gamelan music must give the impression of "speaking" or communication and constitute the perfect unity between music and dance.
Typically players in the gamelan will be familiar with dance moves and poetry, while dancers are able to play in the ensemble. In the background, the Gamelan orchestra accompanies the performance, on 23 August Dance drama in Indonesia is a show that combines dance and drama, which tells a story with dialogue or without dialogue between the players, usually guided by a puppeteer.
This show is accompanied by gamelan music and involves many players who wear a typical costume. Gamelan music as accompaniment is widely used for choreography in the form of storytelling performances, both drama, and dance drama.
Gamelan music that accompanies dance drama is a combination of music whose rhythm is in accordance with the dance movements and as an illustration. Most dance-dramas use music to avoid monotony and be more varied, and for the sake of harmony between dance and music.
Ramayana Ballet is a form of Javanese dance-drama performance that does not use dialogue. Dialogue in ballet performances is replaced with gesticulation or meaningful movements, especially with attitudes, hand movements, and head. Gesticulation or meaningful movements are movements that have a visual meaning or purpose that can be used and implemented by the audiences. Some examples of dance-dramas in Indonesia are as follows: wayang wong , wayang topeng, Ramayana Ballet , etc.
Gamelan is used to accompany all puppet shows, including wayang kulit , wayang golek , wayang klithik , wayang beber , etc. In wayang , the dalang puppeteer must have a thorough knowledge of gamelan, as he gives the cues for the music. Gamelan is a complement and supporter of wayang performances, which is still favored by Indonesians. Gamelan is played to support the atmosphere that Dalang puppet master wants to build in a wayang performance.
Gamelan, which is the music accompanying the puppet show, is played in pelog or slendro tones according to the atmosphere of the scene being played. Gamelan music supports the delivery of values in wayang performances. The type of gamelan music for puppetry is different from gamelan music for dance or ordinary musical songs. Wayang Beber performance of the desa Gelaran at the home of Dr. Wahidin Soedirohoesodo at Yogyakarta in the middle Dr. Traditional theater, especially on the islands of Java and Bali , is mostly accompanied by gamelan.
Traditional theaters such as kethoprak , ludruk , and sandiwara are accompanied by gamelan to enliven the show. Ketoprak is a traditional theater founded in central Java. The story is usually about the life of Javanese palaces and noblemen, often about the romance of the royal family members.
Ketoprak is often performed in celebrations, such as weddings, circumcision, and Independence Day. It differs from Ludruk from east Java, which uses a contemporary setting and the story of common people and their economic struggles.
All the performers of ludruk are males, even the female role is played by males. While Sandiwara is a traditional theatrical drama from west Java. Kethoprak Javanese popular drama depicting legends, historical or pseudo-historical events. Ludruk performance, East Java , Indonesia. Sandiwara performance, West Java , Indonesia. For example, the Pura Pakualaman gamelan performs live on the radio every Minggu Pon a day in the day cycle of the Javanese calendar.
The instruments are placed on a platform to one side, which allows the sound to reverberate in the roof space and enhances the acoustics.
Many festivals are held in Indonesia, most of them using gamelan to enliven the event. Usually, gamelan is used for entertainment performances or even gamelan becomes the theme of the festival. Several gamelan festivals in Indonesia are held regularly, such as the Gamelan festival in Solo , Yogyakarta International gamelan festival, Balinese art festival, and many more. Gamelan players at Balinese art festival Most of the metal gamelan instruments are made of bronze or brass or iron , while some are made of wood , bamboo , leather , and strings.
Gangsa is short of Tigang three and Sedasa ten , the term for gamelan in high Javanese language based on the composition of the ingredients for making the best gamelan bronze , namely three copper and ten tin. Pande is the name for a gamelan maker, while Pelaras is a person who adjusts the gamelan tone to match the existing gamelan standards. In the process of making gamelan, there are at least five stages that must be passed to make a good gamelan.
The five stages include:. Membesot - to melt the mixture, a gamelan craftsman will prepare the kowi, which is a bowl-like container made of clay. In this process, a fireplace equipped with a heating device is prepared to produce maximum heat. The kowi is then filled with metals and other alloys, such as copper or silver to produce a nice plate color. Menyinggi - the metal base material is melted back to be printed into a blade or round shape.
There are three forms of gamelan that are made at this stage, namely, the long form dawan , the long semicircle, and the cebongan form. To maintain sacredness, usually at this stage flower water is used to soak the gamelan that has been printed. Menempa - the gamelan that has been printed then goes into the forging or shaping stage to produce a perfect shape. The forging stage is the most complex stage in the gamelan-making process. In this stage, the process is carried out by people who really understand the ins and outs of gamelan, considering that the forging process is not done carelessly, but uses various hitting techniques using various kinds of hammers.
Membabar - the forged gamelan is then examined again at the spreading stage. At this stage, if there are still defects in the shape, it will be corrected again. While Dahlia works in an advertising agency, she also holds a deep trauma close to her heart.
I absolutely loved this book. Eight-year-old Ruba lives in a village outside Beirut. From her family home, she can see the buildings shimmering on the horizon and the sea stretched out beside them. She can also hear the rumble of the shelling. I will definitely read more from this author. There is a myth that a man can turn into a tiger and kill people and in rural areas, as with many myths, many people still fear that prospect.
The story focusses on a young boy who has to find a lost finger and return it to the grave of its owner within a certain period of mourning and about the young girl who finds it. It read more as Young Adult fiction rather than adult, but it was an interesting and engaging story. Morocco Tangerine by Christine Mangan This just fulfilled a category - uninspiring.
The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne by Brian Moore Oman Celestial Bodies by Johka Alharthi Three sisters in a small community in Oman - this enclosed life is beautifully described - one of the sisters is moving out into the more open, modern world and it's the two worlds colliding - the ancient and the modern.
Lovely short stories set mostly in Lima - the first published work from this well established writer. Poland The Tatooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris This book is based on the writer's interview with the Tatooist who survived and lives in New Zealand - I thought it would be harrowing in the extreme but it's a very readable account from another point of view of a terrible terrible time in history.
All these stories are warnings for our present day to stop these things happening again. Russia A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles Another bestsetller and a really jaunty read of an aristocrat who's under house arrest in a hotel and the evolving world from the fall of the Tsars to modern times seen through the eyes of him in that establishment It's a memoir, not a novel, set in a Palestinian refugee camp on the outskirts of Damascus.
Acham's father is a blind musician and works tirelessly to give his son a musical education in the midst of the conflicts surrounding an enormous refugee camp and telling the real story of all the different factions within that war torn country.
A must read. Just fabulous. USA The Overstory by Richard Powers A story of the fight to save the trees - packed with information, both scientific and environmental about how trees communicate etc Cold Heaven by Brian Moore Another of my Brian Moore binge reads - a lapsed Catholic having a religious vision which she struggles to deal with and explain.
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. Lovely story about a wild child living in the salt marshes on the west coast of America. Beautiful descriptions of the natural world. Zorro by Isabel Allende. Taiwan China 2. Western Sahara disputed 7. Guadeloupe France 8. Martinique France 9. French Guiana France New Caledonia France French Polynesia France Mayotte France Aruba Netherlands Greenland Denmark Faeroe Islands Denmark This recording gives us an effective sequence devised in by Donald Mitchell and Mervyn Cooke.
Lasting 51 minutes, it is cast in six parts, the fourth of which includes a generous helping of the gamelan-inspired material for "Pagoda-Land" missing from the composer-approved concert suite assembled by Norman Del Mar in This is indeed quite the special Britten opus, and it's a great listening experience from start to finish to boot.
By the summer of , Benjamin Britten arrived in New York. After nearly three months in Canada including a mosquito-ridden June in the Laurentians , Britten journeyed southward, to make his mark on America. He quickly fell for the New World, at many points claiming he would take citizenship and remain in the US for the rest of his life. The man who became the iconic British composer of the 20th century did not remain in the United States: he sailed home for England in April of Fresh from a seven-year stay on the island of Bali, McPhee was keen to peddle the exotic secrets of Balinese music and found a proselyte in Britten.
Their friendship had lasting effects on both, especially on Britten. The result, a six-record set entitled "The Music of Bali" released by Schirmer in May , was extraordinary: lucid and tonal, sensual glimmers of an ancient tropical paradise were realized on an instrument so common to domestic life in the West.
It was the piano, as plain as island rain. Benjamin Britten came to remember his connection with Colin McPhee as circumspect. Probably not so much. But, then again, Britten was a reluctant partner, at first. The Balinese-inspired album the two composers recorded in the early years of the war included five pieces for two pianos, as well as some music for flute and piano.
McPhee and Britten had already performed the transcriptions together in public before entering the recording studio, a fact that surely offered McPhee further incentive to choose Britten as his recording partner.
April, McPhee must have needed a player with a dual talent for this recording: both a composer and a pianist like himself. Britten fit the bill. There is intricate, seductive rhythm in this music whose origins lay far off in a hazy, paradisiacal land.
McPhee knew that understanding such music-in structure, melody, harmony, timbre and rhythm-needed the mind and hands of a composer-pianist. The pianism displayed on this record is thoughtfully poised and intuitively musical. Britten understood the subtleties of gentle melody, of elegant figuration, and of formal design suffused with tropical light. The music sounds just like it was recorded-in the 's. Needless to say however, it's performance cannot be equalled.
This is a special disc on many levels. To start with the entire program was compiled and chosen by Alan Hovhaness himself; these are, apparently, the works that he was the most proud of, works that were his personal favorites.
During my initial listening of the disc back in , I was surprised that his "favorites" did not include even a single opus from his early 'Armenian' period; needless to say Armenian culture and music especially the music of Komitas, who was also known as 'Gomidas' or Komitas Vartapet-'Vartapet' as in an ordained priest.
Hovhaness was deeply affected by the history of persecution that befell his ancestral lineage on his father's side. Ancient Armenian music and Armenian folk songs were also a huge inspiration during his formative years had a profound affect on Hovhaness's musical personality and psyche. Many of Hovhaness's masterpieces are from this period 's mostly Secondly, Hovhaness conducts two of the works on this recording: "Celestial Canticle" and "O, Joy at the Dawn of Spring" which is an aria from his opera "Tale of the Sun Goddess Going into the Stone House".
Thirdly, although I think this bit was "special" more so for Hovhaness himself-his wife Hinako Fujihara, a coloratura soprano, is featured on this recording twice. Indeed the aforementioned compositions were written especially with his wife's I used to find Hinako's singing almost unbearable to be honest, as it's extremely high-pitched and oft grating to my ears; luckily her singing only accompanies perhaps minutes of music.
On one of the disc's highlights, "Celestial Canticle", Hinako's singing is to be found in 3 of the 4 movements, however the music is so beautiful that it hardly matters for me anyway, I've played this disc 's of times.
My feelings about the 'special' singing aside, it's an important document also for the very reason that Hovhaness wrote it for his wife, and that she performs here, for better or for worse. The whole disc is delightful, the Symphonies and "Celestial Canticle" clearly the strongest. That leaves the Opera Aria, which I would enjoy if it was anything but an aria.
This disc has also been one of my "automotive soundtracks" for years, especially during the late 90's; driving through countrysides with AH flowing from the speakers is such a satisfying experience. The program notes were written by Hinako Fujihara, with material on Symphony No. I will type out the booklet notes tomorrow, as I must get to work early in the morning.
Track listing:. Symphony No. Celestial Canticle, Op. Fujihara coloratura soprano. The next 20 minutes are just as blissful Labels: Alan Hovhaness.
Wednesday, December 24, Happy Holidays!! Academy of St. Here is one of my all-time favorite Ralph or "Rafe" should you quibble.. Vaughan Williams discs of all time; indeed this was only the second RVW recording I had purchased oh so many years ago.
The main inspiration behind this VW post is of course the "Fantasia on Christmas Carols", for the holidays. It's a lovely work for Baritone, Choir, and Orchestra and is gushing with warm holiday spirit and cheer. This is actually my 2nd favorite version of it, and I do have many.. Also I believe that this is the finest recording of the "Fantasia on Greensleeves" which Vaughan Williams sets so tenderly and beautifully It also includes the flute instead of the other version which only features the violin; it's much more gentle and lovely this way.
Also "The Lark Ascending" presented here is my absolute favorite, with Iona Brown as the violin soloist. It's a classic and well-loved version with St. Martin-in-the-Fields and Sir Neville Marriner conducting.
The English Folk Song Suite too is wonderfully done here, and assuming you have a pulse it should compel you to march, frolic, and perhaps even transport you to the countrysides of yore. The English Folk Song Suite was recorded in , and the songs and Sorry everyone for the subpar writing but I'm in such a rush.
If I can I will try to post a delightful holiday album by the Baltimore Consort one of my favorite ensembles, they recorded mostly for Dorian late tonight and perhaps Hovhaness's "Christmas Symphony". Labels: Vaughan Williams. How fortunate we are that recordings have been popping up like springtime flowers in the past decade!
The reason for the neglect of his music is largely political, for Weinberg, as a bourgeois Jew, suffered under both Nazism and Socialism. Shostakovich described Weinberg as "one of the most outstanding composers of the present day".
That someone who endured the horrors of Nazi genocide, World War II and the Gulag managed to compose at all is extraordinary, let alone produce an oeuvre of such size and quality 22 Symphonies, four Chamber Symphonies, two Sinfoniettas, seventeen String Quartets and numerous other pieces of chamber music as well as seven operas. Weinberg was the only one of his family to escape Nazi atrocities during the war.
His father-in-law was assassinated by the Soviet authorities. Largely isolated from European Hochkultur in the Bay area of the time, he grew up around Irish folk songs his father had emigrated from Ireland , Appalachian tunes, and Chinese music in San Francisco's Chinatown. His domineering mother, a professional writer, educated him according to her eccentric lights, by teaching him stuff he wanted to learn.
Formally, he never had more than a third-grade education but knew quite a bit of botany, history, anthropology, various sciences, and music. He never had a firm grasp of math or even arithmetic. He began to compose at an early age and quickly discovered new musical resources, all the while trying to translate the sounds he heard in his head. He discovered extended piano technique, playing with his elbows for what he called "tone clusters" and strumming the strings.
John Cage's "prepared piano" many years later descends from what Cowell was doing in the early part of the Twentieth Century.
He developed a theory of tonality and of rhythm based on the ratios of the overtone series, the latter of which influenced the player-piano compositions of Conlon Nancarrow — again, decades later. However, Cowell seemed to invent not for its own sake, but out of expressive need. Many of his early experimental piano pieces come from his attraction to Irish Celtic myth and express a wild mysticism. Furthermore, he never kept rigorously to one path.
In the Thirties, as with most leftists, he sought ways to connect with a broad audience and did this largely through folk song.
Again, it was folk song in his own manner, rather than Copland's or Virgil Thomson's. Like Stravinsky, he appropriated older forms and systems for update. Perhaps his most successful pieces in this regard are his Symphony 4, the Ballade , and, most spectacularly, the long series of "hymns and fuguing tunes" based on the American Southern Harmony and New England Singing Master traditions.
From his earliest days, he also knew Asian musicians and learned a Japanese flute. Later, he came into contact with Colin McPhee who turned him onto music of the Pacific rim. Nevertheless, neither the music nor his receptiveness to it was exactly new.
On cultural exchanges and tours for the State Department, he met musicians like Ahmet Adnan Saygun, Ravi Shankar, and Toru Takemitsu, and promoted their music in the West, sometimes at the expense of his own. As you can probably guess, Cowell's music is at least interesting, but author Joel Sachs, conductor and music historian, mentions it without going into depth. He wanted to talk about it, but realized it would take a book twice as long as the present.
Oxford, who ended waiting at least a decade for him to finish, told him they weren't about to issue a second volume. Fortunately, Cowell led an interesting, meaningful life beyond his composing. Probably the one fact that most people know about Cowell is his imprisonment on a morals charge in San Quentin, at the time, one of the worst jails in the country outside of Alabama. The bisexual Cowell was accused by a young man of oral sex, at the time a crime in California even between heterosexual couples.
Incidentally, the penalty applied to both parties, at least in theory.
Pearl Jam - Mudfeast (CD, Album), Dekh Ke Akeli Mohe Barkha Sataye - S. D. Burman - Baazi / Kala Bazar (Cassette), Sladké Je Žít, Happy Families - Then Jerico - Then Jerico. Mark Shaw Etc. Alive & Exposed (CD, Album), Its Hard To Love You - Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich - Greatest Hits (Cassette), Mozart* - Symphony N° 40 & Symphony N° 41 Jupiter (CD), The Beat (Instrumental) - Saïan Supa Crew - The Beat / A Demi Nue (Vinyl), Alberta Polka, Ghoulash (J.R.s Demise) - Various - Night Of The Living Dead (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (V, Ill Be Home - Various - The Number One Collection (Cassette, Album), House Of The Rising Sun Sone Otro Mundo - Manu Chao - La Radiolina (CD, Album)