First performance: May 14, 2004 - Kresge Auditorium, Cambridge, MA - Wu Man, solo pipa; Gamelan Galak Tika, Evan Ziporyn, director
Recording: Live at MIT FAST Forward Marathon, Kresge Auditorium, Cambridge, MA, April 15, 201 - unreleased
This piece brings together two extraordinary musical forces – one soloist and one group - from two separate Asian classical traditions. Chinese and Balinese music have some similarities to outside ears, but in many ways they are further from each other than either is to western music. These are complete traditions, and there is really no compelling musical reason to make them come together, other than the joy of exploration, of finding the beauty in both the unexpected connections and discrepancies. It was composed for and premiered by Wu Man and Gamelan Galak Tika, performers who have all in their own ways devoted themselves to these cross-cultural explorations.
The piece calls for some unusual techniques, most prominently the use of cello bows to make sustained sounds in the gamelan. The title comes from ‘arad,’ the old Javanese word for bowing, which also means to pull or create. Other related words are ‘peng-arad’ - a draft horse; ‘arad-aradan’ – to attract, to lure; ‘peng-arad-an’ the bow of the rebab; and finally, ‘aradhana’ – to call up from a distance or from the unseen.