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Saturday, July 3, 2021

Java - Music Of Mystical Enchantment


Side Two

Music Of Mystical Enchantment
Cover Photo and Record Notes: Doreen Powers
Back Cover Photos: Anita Lynn Miller
Album Design: Beau Gardner
Special Thanks to Marcia Eldelman
Lyrichord Stereo LLST 7301

Doreen Powers is an ethnomusicologist, who made these recordings while doing field work in Java in 1974.

Side One

1. Untitled Composition
Recorded in the town of Yogyakarta, this short excerpt from a very lengthy composition, serves to illustrate the typical sound of a small, but traditional Javanese gamelan. This piece, like many other compositions, is sung in an old Javanese poetic language. Although these pieces are generally understood to be about famous epics, myths, and love stories, the average Javanese audience is usually not able to discern the exact meaning of the words being sung. This composition is performed in the slendro scale, patet sanga.

2. Gending Kututmanggung
Also recorded in Yogyakarta, this composition begins with an introduction that includes a male singer and gamelan. The major part of the ending or composition illustrates typical female vocal style, which is highly decorative and nasal. This composition, performed in the slendro scale, patet mayura, is entitled Gending Kututmanggung, meaning "Turtle Dove Sings".

Side Two

1. Gending Anglirmendung
The Gending Anglirmendung is traditional music used to accompany the slow, stylized movements of the classical Serimpi court dance. This highly revered ceremony was at one time only performed in Javanese courts and palaces. More recently, it is being performed for public audiences. The composition, played in pelog scale, patet barang, employs ancient poetical Javanese texts, usually about historical battle scenes. The texts are sung by a mixed male and female choir, known as sinden. The hypnotic effect created by the rhythmic pattern that is repeated throughout the sending, produces a style that is quite different from other Javanese gamelan music.

2. Manggala Gita
This excerpt is part of a lengthy bawa or vocal introduction to the gamelan composition. The song of this partially improvised haha is entitled Manggala Gita. It is a fine illustration of a decorative male voice line performed in traditional, classical style.

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