Collections of themed recordings curated by John Noise Manis

Gamelan of Central Java – 29  TWO FAVOURITE  GENDHINGS

played on Kyai Kaduk Manis

“Song and Sound the World Around – Gamelan Music from Java”
Philips stereo 831 209 PY (also playable on mono)

The above title and reference are about an old beloved Long Playing record. The content of such ‘cult’ vinyl was recorded in 1963 in the Kraton of Surakarta by Nusjirvan Tirtaamidjaja. The sleeve notes were signed by Tirtaamidjaja and Ernst Heins. Side One had Gendhing ‘Kombang Mara’ and Side Two had Gendhing bonangan ‘Tukung’.

The two pieces, both in laras pelog, were performed on gamelan ‘Kaduk Manis’. The entire set – Kyai ‘Kaduk Manis Manis Rengga’, where the second half of the combined name refers to the slendro portion – is the Kraton’s most frequently played gamelan and a favourite by many (including this writer) due to the “unusual beauty of its sonorities” as mentioned in the sleeve notes of the old LP. And in fact it should be remarked that ‘Kaduk Manis’ means ‘Extraordinarily Sweet’ and ‘Manis Rengga’ translates as ‘Sweet in Ornament’.

‘Tukung’ and ‘Kombang Mara’ belong to the old classical repertoire and their exact age is unknown. ‘Kombang Mara’, one of the most beautiful of the vocal gendhings, dates back to the beginning of the Surakarta era, possibly even into the Kartasura period (early 18th century).

In this album I wanted to concentrate a lifelong appreciation for and enjoyment from the two musical masterpieces of the gamelan tradition AND the gamelan instruments that played them, starting with the now historical recording of 1963 followed up with recordings I made on various occasions and especially in 1996 and 2004.

The context should be clear: same compositions and same gamelan set. I took the liberty to combine parts of the recordings I made at the above dates with restored portions of the worn-out LP.

Some details of the performances sewn together in the two tracks are indicated below.



Track 1    25:43 Gendhing KOMBANG MARA pelog lima 1963-1996-2004 performances

Gamelan Kyai Kaduk Manis gadhon (reduced) – 1996

Pesindhen Nyi Cendaniraras – 1996 and 2004
Vocal overdub Nyi Cendaniraras – 1996
Pesindhen unknown – 1963

Musicians of Kraton Surakarta – 1963 and 1996
Musicians of ISI Surakarta – 2004


Track 2    18:33 Gendhing bonangan TUKUNG pelog barang 1963-1996-2004 performances

Gamelan Kyai Kaduk Manis

Musicians of Kraton Surakarta – 1963 and 1996
Musicians of ISI Surakarta – 2004

John Noise Manis


Nyi Cendaniraras