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Daragang Magayon Cantata

for mezzo-soprano, piano and (optional) dancer/chanter

Year:  2001   ·  Duration:  17m

Year:  2001
Duration:  17m

Composer:   Bruce Crossman

Films, Audio & Samples

Sample Audio

Sample: 2:17-3:17

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The rich overtone resonances from low, rubber-stopped notes on the piano create sensuous single sound moments in the music. These Filipino gong music inspired resonances combine with slow European chorale-like gestures throughout to provide breath moments within an increasingly combative musical texture. The melodic-line derived from Bontok war-chant, usually the prerogative of men, finds full cry in erotic "sea ripples", which in turn generates long-lyric lines expressive of the poem's princess meditation on war. Even the chorale-like breath segments work in shortening gasps leading to transfigured Kulintang (Filipino percussion) segments whose dance-like momentum undergird the "metal timbre" climax of work. The text is drawn from Merlinda Bobis' epic poem Cantata of the Warrior Woman Daragang Magayon - a revisionist re-telling of the Philippines ancient myth associated with the active volcano Mount Mayon. It charts the play of ambivalence and conviction of a beautiful maiden on the eve of battle and is interpreted by the composer as a metaphor of volcanic, erotically-fuelled anger against social injustice, not just in war but in cultural colonisation.

Commissioned note

Commissioned by Dr. Merlinda Bobis, Lotte Latukefu (mezzo-soprano) and Vanessa Sharman (pianist) with the support of a Research Grant from the Centre for Artistic Exchange and Innovation, Faculty of Creative Arts, University of Wollongong

Dedication note

Written for Lotte Latukefu and Vanessa Sharman

Text note

Text from a poem by Merlinda Bobis

Performance history

Performed in August 2001 by Merlinda Bobis, Lotte Latekefu and Marilyn Meier

Performed by Lotte Latukefu, Merlinda Bobis, and Ian Monro at Riverside Theatres, Sydney, April 2006

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