Langen Suka has been invited to give a concert at the Art Gallery of New South Wales on 13 April. The performance will be presented as part of the gallery’s Art after Hours program which opens its doors to the public on Wednesday evenings including a host of free events such as talks, films and music. Langen Suka’s concert will take place in association with the 20th Biennale of Sydney (18 March to 5 June) during which the AGNSW has been transformed into the “Embassy of Spirits” exhibiting work by Asian and Australian Indigenous artists exploring the intersections between the spiritual and the philosophical. The performance will follow a conversation from 6.30 to 7 pm between Dr Rachel Kohn, presenter of The Spirit of Things on ABC Radio National, and a guest speaker.
Date and time
13 April 2016, 7.30 to 8.30 pm
Entrance court, Art Gallery of New South Wales
The Sydney Symphony recently borrowed a gong ageng and two gong suwukan from Langen Suka’s gamelan sets for use in several performances of 20th-century works at the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall on 9, 11 and 12 March and at Carriageworks on 13 March.
Mark Robinson, Assistant Principal Timpanist/Tutti Percussionist of the Sydney Symphony, contacted Langen Suka in early March desperately searching for gongs required in two seminal French works of the late 20th century: Oliver Messiaen’s Des canyons aux étoiles… (1971–74, “From the canyons to the stars…”) and Gérard Grisey’s Quatre chants pour franchir le seuil (1997–98, “Four songs for crossing the threshold”). While Javanese gongs are not specified for these works, the Sydney Symphony percussionists’ set of Thai gongs did not extend low enough for the pitch requirements. Fortunately the Javanese gong ageng from the Indonesian Consulate General’s pelog set and the two gong suwukan from the Australian Museum’s slendro set fitted the bill and were borrowed for the performances. Mark Robinson kindly shared two images of the gongs amidst the extensive set-up for Grisey’s Quatre chants at Carriageworks below.
The date of Langen Suka’s mid-year klenengan will be Saturday 13 August 2016. As we’ve begun to explore repertoire for this performance – including Gendhing Candra, Ladrang Sri Hascarya and Ladrang Wesmester – and discussed a possible venue and occasion, it has been decided that we will play in the slendro scale only. At our rehearsal space at UNSW, we’ve pushed the pelog instruments to the back as we won’t be using them for a while, at least not until the second half of the year when we will be preparing the accompaniments to topeng dances.
So with our slendro sanga set already worked out, we’re excited to reveal our slendro nem repertoire: Gendhing Majemuk with suwuk gropak, followed by Ada-Ada Girisa and Srepegan Pinjalan with the insertion of several tembang macapat to palaran accompaniment. The idea for this wonderful suite of pieces comes from a superb Lokananta recording which can be heard in the clip below.
This is the first time Langen Suka will be performing palaran, a metrical style of accompanying tembang macapat but with variable phrase lengths, so there will definitely be plenty of practice of following the sung melody and drum cues in the coming months.