8442A - Gamelan Son of Lion (Part 1)

by Barbara Benary

Side 1 30:39
Side 2 26:09


The compositions herein represent a selection from among several dozen works I have written for Javanese gamelan instruments. I began composing for game-lan in 1976 when composer friends first lured me into combining two musical pursuits that I had until then kept separate: contemporary composing and ethnic music performances.

The instruments of Gamelan Son of Lion I built in order to teach Javanese music at Livingston College. However, they soon became the basis for the formulation of new music ensemble which relocated to Manhattan and has performed there actively since 1976. Many composers have contributed to its repertoire.

With the exception of Deena's Rag and The Zen Story, these pieces all involve process composing. This is most evident in Hells Bells (an heir to the English change ringing tradition), and somewhat hidden in others by obligators, layers of process-derived counterpoint, and the songs.

The two songs, with texts by myself, are for my daughter Lyra Samara Silverstein, who was age 1 in Sleeping Braid and 3 in Dragon Toes.

Several friends are to be thanked for their input to the pieces. Writer Kenneth Maue set me to composing Hells Bells to complement a prose piece, and is himself the author of the text the Zen Story. Singer Cathy Merritt inspired me to form the latter piece into a lengthy recitative. Dancer Deena Burton is responsible for the piece named after her and for complementing it with choreography of the first "Java Rag."

Barbara Benary was born in 1946 in Bay Shore, N.Y., and lives in Stonypoint, N.Y. from whence she travels forth to compose, perform, and make a living.


released June 21, 1984

Cover Photo: of Gamelan Son of Lion members copyright Robert S. Schaffer 1983
Insert Design: Mary Nell Hawk
Studio Engineering: Connie Kieltyka
Copyright Barbara Benary


all rights reserved



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