Lalit (Lunar Mansions)
About this work:
Lunar Mansions was inspired by an ancient Indian raga which depicts the
sorrow of a woman when her lover deserts her as dawn breaks.
The title is the Vedic name for the places among the stars occupied
by the moon during its passage. The composition is nearly an hour in
length without any pauses. There are five distinct areas in this work
which I will refer to in terms of melting snow, a lake, streams and rapids,
even though I never thought of the music as such while composing it! I
compose and listen in terms of "absolute" or "pure" music, other
than the overall rasa (mood or atmosphere) of each composition. When
asked to provide a brief description for this recording, I found myself
uncomfortable with traditional terms such as "movements", "parts"
or "sections," as well as the usual dry and technical approach to liner
notes. Again, I do not intend for this description to be literal or
programmatic, but merely to suggest the overall shape of the composition.
The lake, waterfall, rapids and streams of Lunar Mansions flow into each
other on their way down the mountain towards the ocean. The music of
melting snow begins with an alap (slow music without tempo) of sitar, tanpura
and bells forming a mountain lake. After eighteen minutes there is a dramatic
waterfall entrance of Indian, Near Eastern and Japanese percussion joining
the sitar and tanpura in a medium slow tempo as a stream branches off from
the newly formed pool. This music continues for a similar duration until the
boundaries of the stream narrow resulting in a doubling of the tempo and a
change of percussion voices to tabla and African udu. Rapids appear,
and the sitar music pauses while the Indian, Near Eastern and Japanese
percussion join the tabla and udu. A smooth stream then reemerges and
sitar, tabla, udu and tanpura continue their movement towards the ocean.
-Michael Robinson March 1998
© 1998 by Michael Robinson All rights reserved
Year composed: 1997
Ensemble type: Electronic Instruments and Sound Sources:Live Electronic Sound Sources
Instrumentation: ,1 Computer/Laptop soloist(s), ,1 Sampler (Keyboard/Other) soloist(s)
Instrumentation notes: A computer and sound module are programmed to perform the fully notated composition in real time. Lunar Mansions (Lalit) is voiced with samples of the following acoustical timbres using Indian tunings: sitar, Indian, African, Near Eastern & Japanese percussion and tanpura.