Collections of themed recordings curated by John Noise Manis

12 Pangkur One

Ladrang PANGKUR slendro manyura, ISI Surakarta, pesindhen Yayuk Sri Rahayu, ensemble and gerong ISI, gamelan Kyai Gedhong Gedhe


1 – 25:03 Ladrang PANGKUR  slendro manyura, ISI Surakarta, pesindhen Yayuk Sri Rahayu, ensemble and gerong ISI, gamelan Kyai Gedhong Gedhe
2 – 15:27 Ladrang PANGKUR  slendro manyura, Pak Cokro’s pendopo in Yogyakarta, pesindhen Mugini, ensemble Karawitan Raras Raos Irama, gamelan Kyai Sekar Tunjung
3 – 11:54 Ladrang PANGKUR  slendro sanga, Cendani’s pendopo in Solo, pesindhen Cendaniraras, ensemble ISI, gamelan Kyai Sekar Delima
4 – 15:48 Ladrang PANGKUR  pelog barang, ISI Surakarta, pesindhen Yayuk Sri Rahayu, ensemble and gerong ISI, gamelan Kyai Gedhong Gedhe


XII. Pangkur One

Collection: Gamelan of Central Java, Original Series

This pair of recordings represents another distinct high point in the Felmay series. Here it concentrates on many versions of a single piece, illustrating just how varied the Javanese conception of a single piece of music really is.

Todd M. McComb, World Music Recordings (web)


Pangkur One presents what is referred to as the “larger” form, with full gamelan orchestra and soloists. Reading the notes to these selections by noted Indonesian musicologist Bapak Sumarsam, one realizes that one of the key components of Javanese music is density… This becomes apparent in the first Ladrang Pangkur, as the music moves from dense orchestral textures to very lean solo passages, accented again by the changes in tempo… The second Pangkur embraces a very different mood, almost festive at the beginning. There is an amazing complexity to the music that maintains a rich underlying texture in the instrumentals as the piece progresses. The interchanges between the soloist and chorus are engaging, the long vocal lines adding an overarching coherence to the piece…  And yet another shift in mood introduces the third version, slow, almost pensive at first, but rapidly moving into a livelier, more percussive section. Changes in rhythm mark this song, although they are apparent throughout the collection, but here they seem to be more prevalent and more obvious…  The last selection features a new vocal part, sung by a mixed chorus, which adds yet another variation to the basic Pangkur. This one is strongly reminiscent of other gendhing I’ve heard, with the same combination of liveliness and stateliness that marks so much of the Javanese music in my experience. Once again, the variations in density and tempo prove very engaging, often throwing the contrasts between soloist and chorus into high relief.

The commentary accompanying this disc is of limited use to those not familiar with Javanese musical terminology — the notes are, in fact, fairly hard going, at least until you can keep a few basic definitions in your head.

Robert M. Tilendis, Sleeping Hedgehog


…l’opera va gustata a fondo e nella sua interezza. Cercando per quanto possibile di sgombrare il campo da quelle sovrastrutture mentali (estetiche) che, se troppo incidenti, potrebbero impedirci di entrare in contatto con una musica tanto fascinosa e radicata nell’essenza stessa delle cose.

Alberto Bazzurro, all-about-jazz


La bella serie Felmay dedicata alla Javanese music fa tredici e avanza di altri due capitoli. John Noise Manis, curatore e produttore della collana, sceglie di declinare secondo numerose possibilità un brano del repertorio classico conosciuto con il nome di Pangkur. Esso deriva dal genere macapat, cioé dalla poesia cantata, il che spiega a sufficienza la sinuosità e morbidezza di suono percepita all’ascolto. Sintesi e stratificazione di varie melodie, il Pangkur nell’occasione viene trasposto in quattro modi differenti e per un’ampia formazione strumentale.

Piercarlo Poggio, Blow Up


Pangkur is the keystone of the repertoire of central Javanese gamelan, a tune that anyone acquainted with the music is likely to meet week in week out. It is ubiquitous because it can be played in myriad different ways by varying tuning, mode, instrumentation, rhythmic style, vocals, and so on. But do you really need two whole CDs of it? That’s a lot of Pangkur! There is beautiful music on both, but the point seems to be more to educate than entertain.

John Whitfield, Songlines


Javanese gamelan has become increasingly familiar , and its influence upon Western music is widespread. Still, it’s tempting to view it as a timeless sound, caught in some endlessly repeating trans-historical loop. The latest volumes in this marvellous Felmay series of recent recordings go some way towards rectifying that impression. They catch the current state of an evolving classical repertoire, giving prominence to the vocal dimension of that tradition. This first volume [of Pangkur] uses the full gamelan orchestra.

Julian Cowley, The Wire