A Corner of Gamelan
A Selection of Compositions for Oriental and Western Instruments
by Philip Corner
gamelan YANTRA because this is the site of Giovanni Sciarrino*’s beautifully imaginative presentation of records centered in Java and Bali yet open to the world.
*known better as John Noise Manis ( or Johnny Sweetnoise – how appropriate!)
gamelan CORNER because it is a selection of the composer’s work involving gamelan and other exotic instruments including the familiar one.
The compositions in Philip Corner’s “gamelan” series – over 500 to date – can be played by the traditional ensembles or adapted to other kinds of instruments…. many have been. Piano solos are played by himself; there are duets; and even a trio. Scores in measured graphic notation give rise to indeterminate performances, always requiring an imaginative realization while equally demanding a disciplined understanding of clearly defined possibilities. From the first GAMELAN in 1975, the title consciously evoking Roman letters carved in stone (and not suspecting that there were to be others), the next piece, written soon after, takes the written form gamelan II – that was a given! with the subtitle Number Measure Increase Downward. This will become the standard ideal script for the whole series: gamelan in lower case to show that, rather than a fixed instrumental definition, reference is to the integrity of the series as a whole. Which shares a common time/space equivalence exploiting simple number measures. How much variety nevertheless possible! Subtitles gave suggestions of a specific technique; and after #12 (which was indeed about the influence of 12s) the series abandoned numeration for capitalized (mostly) TITLES referring to some aspect, analytical or anecdotal.
Production and Digital Release