Yogakarta: Gamelan of the Kraton is the fifth recording in a succession of critically acclaimed masterpieces representing some of the richest music and dance traditions from the islands of paradise, Indonesia. Although a world class tourist destination, the rich history of Indonesia is not widely publicized to visitors or well represented in the West.
At the core of Yogyakarta's cultural identity stands a single institution of unquestionable significance: the Kraton Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat, the residence of the current Sultan of Yogyakarta and his forebears. It is the music tradition of this palace that is represented on this recording.
Track one, Gendhing Lintang Karahinan (the morning star) is set in a lengthy phrase structure marked off by the infrequent sounding of the large, deep-pitched, resonant gong-gong ageng (the great gong). Traditionally created and performed only in the palaces of central Java, such grandiose pieces are to this day not popular outside the court context. Ladrang Liwung, track 4, is another fine example of Yogyanese soran playing, although set to a shorter phrase structure and strongly associated with dance.
Ladrang Semingin is strongly associated with a non-palace dance tradition known as tayuban a lively, mostly improvised social dance style performed by professional female entertainers. The livelier style of drumming in this piece, as well as the non-texted vocal shouts by the male singers, reference back to the earthy, village origins of tayuban.
Track three is the accompaniment for an elegant and complex ensemble dance used on special occasions, such as receiving guests of state or commemorating the Sultan's coronation. Such choreographies are as specific to the palace context as are the lengthy gendhing soran heard in track one.
Kawedanan Hageng Punakawan
NR (Not Rated)
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