Yale University Javanese Gamelan Ensemble
Gamelan Suprabanggo
CONCERT PROGRAM
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Gamelan Suprabanggo
Inaugural Yale University Concert
January 26, 2008

Special Guests
Ki Midiyanto - UC Berkeley
Ki Sumarsam - Wesleyan University

Tony Day
Sam Day-Weiss
Lia DeRoin-YSM
Joseph Getter*
Aaron Hodgson-YSM
Lauren Holmes-GSAS
Andy McGraw*
Chris Miller*
Paul Morse-YC
Yoshi Onishi-YSM
Julian Pellicano-YSM
Marzanna Poplawska*
Saqib Rabbani-YC
Nathaniel Rowe-YC
Leslie Rudden
Naftali Schindler-YSM
Anne Stebinger*
Corinne Sykes-YC
Genevieve Tauxe
Sarah Weiss, Director
Arif Yampolsky
Jessica Zike*
* Visiting Artist
   

Gamelan Suprabanggo wishes to thank: Council on Southeast Asia Studies, Department of Music, Yale School of Music, Yale Chaplain's Office, Robert Blocker, Diane Brown, Jon Butler, Tom Duffy, Joe Errington, Dan Harrison, Hendrati, Pat McCreless, Midiyanto, Kris Mooseker, Linette Norbeau, and Barbara Shailor

PROGRAM

Ketawang Wedyasmara, Laras Pelog Pathet Lima
The word laras means scale and the word pathet is best translated as mode. This short piece is in the pelog scale and the mode - lima - is the one with the lowest range. Concerts usually begin in the lowest modes and progress through to the highest ones, alternating from one scale to the other. Ketawang Wedyasmara features a mixed chorus. It was written by Ki Tjokrowasito (alm) - a Javanese musician and teacher who taught for many years at California Institute for the Arts and who recently died at the age of more than 100 years. The name of this piece translates as 'the mentioning of love.'

Introduction and Remarks: Sarah Weiss, Director, Yale Gamelan Suprabanggo

Gendhing Kocak minggah Ladrang Diradameta, Laras Slendro Pathet Nem
This piece is often used for the accompaniment of scenes in wayang kulit or shadow puppet performance. The piece is in two sections of different lengths. The slow moving flow of the core metallophones in the first section speeds up transitioning into the second section or minggah which is characterized by some double time movement in the main melody and finishes with a Suwuk Gropak - a crashing finish. Kocak means something that is brimming over such as a bowl of liquid or when eyes seem to spill over with one's internal light. Diradameta means angry elephant. The end of this piece might invoke elephants rampaging through a forest.

Gendhing Randhukentir minggah Ladrang Ayun-Ayun Gobyogan, Langgam Yen Ing Tawang, Laras Pelog Pathet Nem
This piece is actually a suite comprised of a slower but playful first section which transitions to a seemingly faster dance piece using ciblonan or dance-drumming. Ayun-ayun means swaying and both the melody and the dancer's hips, should she be dancing, sway in this piece. Occasionally the melody speeds up and the gongs interrupt the melody. This is the Gobyogan. After Ayun-ayun has finished there will be a Bawa or male solo which serves to introduce the Langgam Yen Ing Tawang. Langgam are melodies that come out of the popular song tradition called kroncong that was developed in Jakarta over the course of the 19th and 20th centuries and is strongly associated with Indonesian nationalism. Originally accompanied by a string band, the accompaniment and language have been Javanized.

Ketawang Sinom Parijatha, Ayak-ayakan, Srepegan Laras Slendro Pathet Sanga
This short piece begins with a buka celuk, or vocal introduction. The pasindhen or female singer intones the first line of a verse in the poetic meter called Sinom and the rest of the ensemble joins her after she has sung the first line. The male chorus sings the lines in steady tempo while the pasindhen ornaments and delays her arrivals at the goal pitches. This kind of delay is heard to varying degrees in the suling or flute and in the rebab or bowed lute as well. The ketawang transitions to a sequence of pieces in which the gongs play more frequently. These last two pieces in the suite are from the wayang repertoire.

Ladrang Wilujeng Laras Pelog Pathet Barang
This piece is used to welcome guests and assure success to a gathering of any kind. Wilujeng means prosperity and good fortune in Javanese.

Gendhing Lobong minggah Kinanti, Ladrang Kembang Pépé, Laras Slendro Pathet Manyura
Another suite, the first part of this piece has two sections, the second of which incorporates andegan or stoppings, during which the pasindhen sings a solo line and invites the rest of the ensemble to begin again. The second part of the suite features a large mixed chorus singing verses in the Kinanti poetic meter. In the last section the chorus continues using a different meter and filling in with nonsense syllables such as ba and bo.


How did Gamelan Suprabanggo Come to Yale?

With funds provided by the Yale Council on Southeast Asia Studies, and through the efforts of Yale Department of Music faculty and staff, this ensemble was purchased from Ki Midiyanto - Central Javanese dhalang and long time teacher at UC-Berkeley. The instruments were shipped from Wonogiri, Indonesia where they had been used regularly for wayang and klenengan performances over the course of several years. Shipped by sea, the instruments arrived on campus in November 2006 and were unpacked by student volunteers in December. Before it left Java, the ensemble was named Gamelan Suprabanggo, a word formed from the names of the sons of Ki Midiyanto (Supraba and Anggo). In spring semester 2007, Sarah Weiss began teaching Yale's first seminar on the history, theory, aesthetics, cultural contexts and performance of Javanese karawitan or gamelan music. In addition to their intellectual work, the students who take the seminar participate as members of the performance ensemble which also includes students from around the university and Yale staff, as well as New Haven community members and students. The ensemble currently meets weekly on Wednesday evenings at 7:00pm in the basement of Hendrie Hall (165 Elm Street). The Yale College seminar will be taught once every two years. If you are interested in performing with the ensemble contact Sarah Weiss <s.weiss@yale.edu>.

 

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