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World Music CD Reviews Asia & Far East

Various Artists

By Allan Evans
Published February 15, 2006

GAMELANS OF CENTRAL JAVA: Ceremonial Music Vol. II
DUNYA

The wealth of Java's ruling princes allowed many courts to fashion their gamelan from bronze, quite an expense. The resulting instruments and styles which arose over the last few hundred years often led to battles between rivals to gain possession of another's instruments. In listening to the sonorous depth and overtones of these remarkable groups, such bellicose behavior is quite understandable. The pieces are slow and stately, some going beyond a musical experience, as they are for ceremonial use amidst other priorities. Yet the unique enthralling sound of Javanese gamelan ought to be known by all, as it is based on slow note patterns surrounded by fleeting layers of more rapid tones decorating the main sonorities. Superbly recorded and played, this disc is a fine document.