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Sun Wu Kong "Monkey"

central Javanese gamelan (including frog toys), string quartet, Chinese sheng, rebab player, singer(s) - male or female

Year:  2009   ·  Duration:  6m 30s

Year:  2009
Duration:  6m 30s

Composer:   Helen Bowater


Sun Wu Kong "Monkey" is a tribute to mentor and friend Jack Body. Jack invited me to write this piece for his retirement concert "Gong Crazy" during my term as Jack C Richards / Creative New Zealand Composer in Residence (2008–2009).

The title "Monkey" refers to the kecak rhythms of the Balinese monkey dance which permeate the score, also to the irrepressible spirit of Sun Wu Kung – the "Monkey King" of Wu Ch'eng-en's classic 16th century novel, and to the year of Jack's birth.

Commissioned note

Requested by Jack Body for his retirement concert on October 2nd and 4th, 2009 and written during the Jack C Richards / Creative New Zealand Residency 2008–2009

Difficulty note

intermediate to advanced

Dedication note

Dedicated to Jack Body

Text note

Traditional Javanese texts

Performance history

02 Oct 2009: Gong Crazy!

03 Oct 2009: Gong Crazy! 2