by I. M. Harjito (2000)
LISTEN to this piece.
Read NOTES from the concert program
Ora nyana budaya kekalih
Who would have thought these two cultures
(dedication by I. M. Harjito)
|NOTES||Dhandhanggula For Javanese Gamelan and Orchestra
By I. M. Harjito
Notes by Marc Perlman, based on information from I. M. Harjito.
In January 1999, after returning to Wesleyan from a sabbatical in Indonesia, Harjito was inspired to compose gendhing (traditional gamelan compositions). Over the following year he composed dozens of pieces, including Ketawang Dhandhanggula Tlutur sléndro manyura in December 1999. Soon afterwards he conceived the idea to arrange this piece for gamelan and orchestra. There have been many attempts over the years to combine these two ensembles, but all have been carried out by Western-trained composers. Dhandhanggula is apparently the first such effort by a traditionally-trained Javanese musician.
"Dhandhanggula" is a literary term, a name for a certain poetic verse form (identified by its ten-line stanzas, in which each line has a certain number of syllables and ends in a certain vowel). Each Javanese verse form has traditional melodies associated with it, and these melodies often form the basis of gamelan compositions. Harjito's Dhandhanggula follows in this tradition.
Harjito wrote the vocal text of this piece in the Dhandhanggula meter; it is based on a legend of the East Javanese kingdom of Majapahit (13th to 15th centuries). The hero Damar Wulan, ordered into battle by the queen of Majapahit, takes leave of his beloved, Anjasmara. The words and music have a bittersweet quality, the tender sadness of parting lovers.
Harjito has followed Javanese literary tradition by incorporating hidden words (sandi-asma) in this text. The initial letters of the first nine lines spell out "orchestra"; the word "gamelan" is hidden in the first, third, and final syllables of the last line.
|Performers||The Millennium Orchestra is a first-time collaboration among the Wesleyan University Orchestra, the Wesleyan Jazz Orchestra, the Wesleyan Wind Ensemble, and the Javanese Gamelan.|