Live performance by UC Santa Cruz Wind Ensemble and Dan VanHassel, May 6, 2016.
Duration: 10 minutes
Instrumentation: wind ensemble and electric guitar
Commissioned by: The Barlow Endowment for Music Composition at Brigham Young University
World Premiere: May 6, 2016. UC Santa Cruz Wind Ensemble. Nathaniel Berman, conductor. Dan VanHassel, electric guitar
The word “balungan” refers to the basic underlying melody of a Javanese gamelan composition from which all the individual parts are derived. This piece is constructed similarly, with a long slow melody beginning very high and gradually descending over the course of the piece. All of the pitched instruments are playing parts following or elaborating on this basic melody. The non-pitched percussion are following an opposite trajectory, starting low and gradually moving higher. The guitar is the wild card, in the beginning leading the pitched instruments but eventually diverging.