Kekembangan

1990, 16' for saxophone quartet and Balinese gamelan, composed by Evan Ziporyn & Nyoman Windha

Kekembangan (1990) is based on I Nyoman Windha’s Kembang Pencak, a piece for Balinese gong kebyar which accompanies choreography by I Nyoman Catra.  That original piece was revised by Ziporyn and Windha to include these saxophone parts.  The original piece is played in its entirety, with certain sections (notably Part Four) expanded.  It was premiered in April, 1990 in Berkeley, California by Gamelan Sekar Jaya with saxophonists Randy McKean, Chris Jonas, Evan Ziporyn, and Dan Plonsey.  It was later performed at the Cowell Theater in San Francisco – it has not been performed since. 

In keeping with traditional practice, the Balinese parts were transmitted by ear, while the saxophonists learned from these parts.  At present no score of the gamelan parts exists.  The saxophone parts were originally written on Professional Composer software (now obsolete) and revised by hand during rehearsal.  This score was made directly from those hand-written parts, and reflects what the players read during the first (and only) set of performances.  It is expected that the players are taking their cues from the gamelan.

Certain sections are labelled ‘alternate fingerings;’ others call for ‘normal fingerings.’  This is to account for tuning discrepancies between the gamelan and the saxophones.   All gamelan tunings are non-tempered and unique (i.e., no two sets are alike), and this piece is designed to work with any Balinese gamelan that conforms to prevalent tendencies, specifically, that ‘ding’ is an approximate C-sharp, while ‘dang’ is an approximate ‘A.’  Discrepancies larger than this should be taken on a case-by-case basis, but it’s unlikely that the piece will sound as intended in such circumstances.

In the ‘alternate fingering’ sections, players are encouraged to find fingerings which feel more ‘in tune’ with the gamelan tuning.  In these sections, either all players should play these fingerings or no one should!  In the ‘normal fingering’ sections, all players should play standard saxophone fingerings, regardless of the tuning of the gamelan.

 

 

Recording

Score