Michael Robinson

Luminous Realms

Cover art is hand silkscreened paper from Japan

 

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1. The Forest of Brinda (Durga) (1998) 12.31

meruvina: sitar, tabla, kalimba, finger cymbal, kawala, piri, french horn, rainstick, Javanese, African, and North and South American percussion, tanpura

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2. Luminous Realms (Marwa) (1998) 60.25

meruvina: trumpet, tabla, Indian, African, Near Eastern and Japanese percussion, tanpura

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The Forest of Brinda is the third and highest level of heaven where Krishna resides along with the Gopis.  Shortly after the music begins, an electronic percussion ostinato enters, which was inspired by the electronic music of Joel Chadabe and David Behrman.   This is followed by a melodic figure which is repeated throughout the piece by a wide range of instrumental colors, from finger cymbal to french horn.  The swiftly moving tabla was inspired by Alla Rakha's son, Zakir Hussain.  

Luminous Realms is based on Marwa, one of India's hauntingly beautiful sunset ragas.  While listening to a recording of this raga, I had the sensation of feeling the tones sliding downward. When I interviewed santoor genius Shivkumar Sharma, he confirmed my feeling that this was an actual musical depiction of the setting sun! 

I felt that a trumpet timbre was perfect for the rasa of Marwa.  The legato capabilities of this instrument enhance the melodic instability of the music which reflects the transition from day to night. 

Luminous Realms also features a rich family of percussion voices, including tabla, and various Indian, African, Near Eastern and Japanese drums. These instruments make their initial entrance at 20.13, with an extended solo. There is a second extended percussion family solo when the tempo is doubled at 40.13.

Both of these compositions were written in 1998.

- Michael Robinson, July 1999, Los Angeles

  © 1999 by Michael Robinson All rights reserved