This is a traditional piece that features the bonang (the horizontally-racked
pots) as the leading melodic instrument. The stately first section contrasts
with the second, each repetition of which gradually increases density (to
reach a double-time interlocking counter-melody in the demungs), speed,
and volume (as loud and fast as the musicians can play!).
Ladrang DIRADAMETA is commonly used in wayang kulit
(shadow puppet play) to accompany preparations for battle. The melodic
gestures in portions of the piece mimic the stomping "angry elephants" of
Ladrang WESTMINSTER, as performed in today's concert, is only
one of several variants of this piece, and is said to be inspired by
once-popular houshold objects in Central Java; the nature of these objects is
left as an exercise to the listener!
Ladrang WILUJENG one of the first pieces most gamelan
students learn, is commonly used to convey welcome and good wishes. As
Gamelan Nyai Saraswati is celebrating its sixth full season this year,
consider this a prayer for well-being for the ensemble, the performers,
audience, and everyone who has supported us.
It has been said that performances of any Central Javanese gamelan work are
negotiated around an "inner melody", which is expressed individually and
tangentially in a manner characteristic to each instrument (garap), but
whose true nature is only revealed in the heart of the performer and the
listener. Jody Diamond brings this notion to a western audience with In
That Bright World. Though this piece employs several traditional
Javanese forms, it also introduces elements that are not native to Javanese
gamelan, including kotekan, a complex interlocking melodic pattern
borrowed from Balinese gamelan. Perhaps even listeners brought up in this
country will also discover in this piece a familiar inner melody that is
closer to home.
Director: Daniel Guberman (email: gubermanemail.unc.edu)
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