VR444 $14.00Listen Read More...
Returning Minimalism (VR444) features new work for Balinese gamelan gong kebyar. Two Balinese composers, with virtuosic players from their gamelan ensembles, took on a unusual challenge—to create new works inspired by Terry Riley’s groundbreaking 1964 piece, In C, a founding work of minimalism. Using their extraordinary sense of ensemble and improvisational abilities, the artists regard one of the most potent styles of twentieth century Western music from a unique cultural perspective. In the process they confront ideas of freedom vs. constraint, individual vs. group, and the interactive nature of gamelan performance in a unique light. Their glowing creative response, and the reverberation of cultural ideas that arose within it, are described in extended notes. Returning Minimalism is the continuation of a project by John Noise Manis, and follows the Central Javanese sessions he captured in recordings featuring other outstanding Indonesian musicians.
Recorded on February 8 and 9, 2011 at the Pura Dalem Munduk Sangkur, Tunjuk, Bali
Realized by members of Seka Gong Taruna Mekar (Tunjuk) and Çudamani (Pengosekan).
VR460 $14.00Listen Read More...
Makrokosma Bali (VR460) features one of the island’s most skilled gamelan orchestras, Seka Gong Taruna Mekar, from the village of Tunjuk. These 25 virtuosic musicians play music by two composers—one Balinese, one American—that explores the sound worlds and cosmology of Balinese culture through innovative new textures, rhythms, and forms. This CD includes all the music of the original multimedia version of Makrokosma Bali, premiered on May 12-14, 2011 at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco.
The Seven-Tone Gamelan Orchestra from the Village of Pengosekan, BaliListen Read More...
This CD (VR 440) presents music by Çudamani, one of Bali’s most vibrant new sanggar, or private arts organizations. It was formed by a family of young musicians in the village of Pengosekan, a rich center of gamelan music, dance, painting and sculpture. The virtuosic musicians of Çudamani, led by Dewa Putu Berata, play on an unusual type of hybrid gamelan orchestra created in the 1980s. With seven tones rather than the usual five, this gamelan semara dana allows the freedom to play in unusual modes, derived from older court and ritual gamelan. Combined with the powerful resources of modern kebyar style, this special gamelan has inspired the Çudamani group to create and re-create a wide range of music and dance works—from Taruna Jaya, an explosive early 20th century dance, to Geregel, a seven-tone instrumental work that has opened entirely new vistas in contemporary gamelan music.
Çudamani, like all Vital Records CDs, is the result of a long process of collaboration and planning with the group’s members. All the artwork, from the cover to the disc surface, was created by Çudamani musicians. The works were chosen for their balance, contrast, and representation of the group’s repertoire. The recording was done in the largest courtyard area of the Dewa family’s compound—an outdoor space of perfect acoustic characteristics for gamelan sounds.
The first piece, Geregel, is also the subject of an extended article in Perspectives in New Music (volume 40/1). This article explores the world of seven-tone, modal music in Bali; the development of the hybrid gamelan semara dana, and analyzes Geregel in its stunning innovations of modal use, form, phrases structure, and orchestration.
Music of The Gambuh Theater
Bali’s Ancient Dance DramaListen Read More...
Music of The Gambuh Theater (VR 501) documents one of the world’s rarest and most beautiful ensembles, the Gambuh Ensemble of the Village Temple of Batuan, located in south-central Bali. The music they play, captured in crystal-clear digital sound, creates a haunting and otherworldly musical atmosphere. Its sound colors are quite different from those of the more common bronze gamelan orchestras. Hovering melodies of great breadth and classical beauty, played on meter-long bamboo flutes, are fused with elaborate rhythmic compositions played on two hand drums. Small bronze percussion instruments and punctuating gongs add a delicate metallic underpinning. The ensemble accompanies Bali’s oldest dramatic dance form, a fusion of music, literature, and dance that originated in Java more than 500 years ago, at the apogee of classical Hindu Javanese court culture.
Music of The Gambuh Theater is the result of a yearlong collaboration and partnership with the Gambuh Preservation Project, a nonprofit multi year project sponsored by the Ford Foundation and administered by the Bali-based Wianta Foundation. Owing to the involvement of several artists and scholars immersed in Gambuh and related traditions, the CD is a carefully crafted document of this highly refined music/dance forms. Great care and attention has been given to the recording quality, choice of pieces (to represent the many forms and musical modes found in a full Gambuh performance), and the presentation of a wealth of information in the extensive liner notes. The twenty-page booklet text of Music of the Gambuh Theater covers aspects of dramatic context, musical structure, instrumentation, and performance practice of Gambuh. As with other releases on Vital Records, the text is intended as a comprehensive overview that can also be used in research and teaching.
Music of The Gamelan Gong Kebyar, Vol. 2 Out Of Print
Music of I Nyoman WindhaListen Read More...
Music of the Gamelan Gong Kebyar, Volume Two (VR 402), presents the music of I Nyoman Windha, Bali’s internationally acclaimed gamelan composer and one of the most brilliant musicians of his generation. Windha’s compositions are nearly always winners in the yearly gamelan competitions, where groups from all over the island compete for top honors before a panel of judges and thousands of passionately devoted fans. This recording presents four of these award-winning pieces, played by Bali’s top village-based gamelan orchestras.
Music of The Gamelan Gong Kebyar, Vol. 1
Performed by musicians of STSI DenpasarListen Read More...
Music Of The Gamelan Gong Kebyar is a thrilling collection of Bali’s most popular kind of gamelan music. Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 may be ordered separately or as a set. The gamelan gong kebyar is Bali’s modern concert orchestra of about thirty musicians, playing a variety of bronze metallophones, tuned gongs, drums and flutes. The style itself—known simply as kebyar—was born in 1914 through the competition of two orchestras in North Bali. In reflection of the turbulent times of early 20th-century Bali, the music is explosive, kaleidoscopic in character and virtuosic in its intricate interlocking rhythms, a distinct contrast to the stately ceremonial music that preceded it. Now, after nine decades of development, the raw brilliance and flash of kebyar music is complemented by sophisticated formal designs, a wide range of orchestral color and the astonishing musicianship of present-day gamelan players.
Music of the Gamelan Gong Kebyar, Volume One (VR 401), focuses on the musicians of STSI Denpasar, Bali’s famed National Institute of the Arts. They are led by I Wayan Berata, the elder composer, teacher, and gamelan maker who has played a pivotal role in the development of kebyar music over the past four decades. Three of Berata’s compositions or arrangements are included in this volume. The players, drawn from the senior faculty of this prestigious institution, are among Bali’s finest, regarded throughout the island as a kind of musical all-star team.