Nawang Wulan : guardian of the earth and rice : for alto flute and piano
by Betty Beath (1980)
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Nawang Wulan (the guardian of the earth and of rice) is a setting of a poem by the Javanese poet Subagio Sastrowardojo. I particularly enjoyed writing this piece which remains a favourite of mine after many years. In writing the work for the soprano Susan Lorette Dunn, I was very influenced by the strong image of landscape in Java, particularly of the rice-fields...tranquil, green, with gentle breezes which bring both movement and subtle sound. It is a lyrical work in which I have set the original text Bahasa Indonesia. An English translation of this lovely poem is by Dr. Harry Aveling and I quote briefly from that:
Do not speak to me in a worldly way
I am of heaven
Do not brush against my body with your sinful body
I am of heaven
Receive me with flowers
The blood of sorrow and love
Flowers for the baby new-born from its mother's womb
Flowers for the lover sweetly yearning.......
Instrumentation: Alto flute, piano.
Duration: 3 min.
Dedication note: Dedicated to Gillian Rankine
Commission note: Commissioned by Gillian Rankine.
'Nawang Wulan', with other of Subagio Sastrowardjo's poems, is included in the volume 'Contemporary Indonesian poetry' edited and translated by Dr. Harry Aveling.
Performances of this work
30 Aug 80: Performed as part of an Indonesian Day presentation, University of Queensland. Sponsored by the Musicologial Society of Australia, Queensland Chapter.
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