for flute, alto sax, bari sax, percussion, and piano, 6 minutes
Persalutianax was written in 2013 for Ensemble Selisih (Freiburg, Germany). It was premiered on a portrait concert for the German composer Dieter Mack on the occasion of his 60th birthday at the Weingut Franz Keller. The work was revised slightly in 2019. Dieter is both a composer and ethnomusicologist with a deep interest in Indonesian music. He spent 9 years in total in Indonesia, studying and performing both Balinese and central Javanese gamelan. He frequently comes to the South East Asian region for projects, particularly those involving young composers of South East Asia. Hence, in this work, I sought to include elements of Indonesian music, but these are subtle - fused within my own compositional language. Looking back at my notes written during the work's development, I described the opening as a kebyar (a burst in Indonesian), drawing a relationship to the most common type of Balinese gamelan today, Gamelan Gong Kebyar. It is a fiery, rhythmically driven style of music. My work starts with explosions that wear down to a trickle. But arising from this are rhythmic cycles reminiscent of gamelan Gong cycles. The most obvious of these is found in the middle of the work, supported by a timbral shift of multiphonics in the wind instruments and harmonics on the piano, mimicking slower instruments like Jegogan and Calung of the Balinese Gamelan. The cycle slows and greater musical elaboration happens in the saxophones as well as the unusual soloist of this section, a bowed Waldteufel performed by the percussionist. Again, this is taken from the concept of musical elaboration in central Javanese Gamelan found in instruments like the Gender and Gambang. This hypnotic section is abruptly interrupted. The work closes with accumulating, descending melodic lines performed in a strange tutti wherein each musician plays roughly (but never exactly) the same.
The name derives from the instruments used: PERcussion SAx fLUTe pIANo sAX.