Lalit (Lunar Mansions)

Michael Robinson

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 BACK
Year composed: 1997
Duration: 00:58:23
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.

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