Aspasia Nasopoulou
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Chromata Laleonta (2003)
for chamber orchestra in combination with Javanese Gamelan instruments
Total duration: 7 min.

The idea to combine Gamelan with western instruments came after my contact -as a player-with the gamelan music during my studies in Amsterdam and it was a great challenge. I did not wish to simply blend their colours because this is only the first level of an imaginary conversation. The question was how you can “mix”, juxtapose, or superpose two different “worlds” keeping the same time their identity. After a research and with the help of the ethnomusicologist Ernst Heins I came closer to the tradition, structure and the role of the gamelan music. I consciously decided to base the piece on the specific melodic and rhythmical structure of some Gamelan pieces such as Manyar Sewu,Babar Layar, and Tropong Bang. In the woodwinds and brass are used variations of the traditional material and different superposed harmonic and rhythmical layers, which are based on specific chords. Simultaneously I created a second simulated “gamelan” group (strings in combination with the western percussion) which has an organic role. In this way I created a game between the different sounds, while at the same time respecting the tradition of each group. The melodic and rhythmical structure of the piece is running through the two groups with a natural flowing, creating temporarily local sound conflicts.