Le cercle de Rangda

Solo instrument with orchestra
18 min.
for piano and orchestra
Date de création

Le Cercle de Rangda (The Circle of Rangda)

for piano and orchestra (1998) – ca 20’

Commissioned by "Les Amis de l'OPL".

Premiered in 1998 by Marcel Cominotto, piano, and the Liege Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Alain Franco.

That "concertante" was composed after my stay in Indonesia in 1996 and a fantastic journey to the Bali Island at that occasion. That music carries the memory of traditional musics that upset me at that time. The score is also inspired by some travel notes i wrote after a representation of the Calonarang, a Balinese epic, discovered at that occasion : "Nightfall at the edge of a temple in Bali. Gamelan instruments hit by frantic musicians. Mahendradatta appears, and becomes Rangda with her terrifying appearance. Actually, this women was disavowed by her husband because she practiced magic.The exile led her to the heart of the forest, a place of strange and marvellous. There she turned her talents towards the art of destruction. Since, Rangda fascinates, bewitches those who approach her. Rites reproduce indefinitely and subjected beings never cease running until finding themself unconscious at their starting point. Then comes the Barong, a mythical creature, a supernatural god, sent to fight against the witch. But at the issue of the subsequent violent struggle, nobody dies. Because in Balinese tradition (resulting from the Indian one), there is no battle for the "Godd". the "Good" is never victorious. Everything is a question of balance. And without Rangda it would be impossible to find that balance in the Balinese world... " 

Music arises. The Circle of Rangda is just a mirror broken by the game of metaphors. If this "kind" of piano concerto refuses any direct references to the Balinese music, the East is still present. The musical matter is resulting from sonorities of the Balinese percussions, analyzed by the means of computer and modeled by the subjectivity of the orchestration. Finally, a balance is sought, in a scary crossover between the instrospection of a "sound substance" which evolves organically and the virtuosity of a soloist whi is turning over on himself, contaminating the orchestra at some places in an endemic game of recurring gestures. Fortunately, the last section of the work is ejected out the Circle. The piano becomes aware of itself in an act of love between Occident and the East ; Bali is engulfed in the Venitian lagoon, with its magma of bells and imaginary gongs... until a last glance at Rangda who is smiling through a short sample of the Balinese wind.


Other writings (in French) : 

"De la multiplicité des imaginaires culturels en musique", Marie Isabelle Collart (1998)

"A propos du Cercle de Rangda", Eric Mairlot (1991)