World premiere of version
l’Institut Canadien de Québec, Montréal
l’Ensemble d’Ondes de Montréal
Pulau Dewata, whose title means “Island of the Gods” in Indonesian, is a tribute piece to the wonderful Balinese people.
The whole piece is merely a melody whose rhythmic language is sometimes drawn from the Balinese rhythmic line. A tribute with memories of this island. The ending of the piece is in fact an exact quotation of the “panjit prana,” the offering dance of the Legong.
I wanted a simple piece: monochrome, a short piece above all full of joy, alternating single melodies—“intervalized”—and complementary melodies in the Balinese style. It is a child’s music…
— Claude Vivier
This program note may be reproduced free of charge in concert programs with a credit to the composer.
A stay in Bali in 1976, marked a turning point in Claude Vivier’s career. Most of the subsequent works were to show the influence of the atmosphere of this Pacific island, whose inhabitants call it the “Island of the Gods,” or "Pulau Dewata". This is the title given by Vivier to a work specially dedicated to the people of Bali. The composer describes it as follows: “This piece is a succession of nine melodies of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 sounds. These modes may be directly reminiscent of Bali, but what I wanted to write was a piece imbued with the spirit of Bali: its dances, its rhythms and, above all, an explosion of life, simple and candid. The ending is the traditional signature of many Balinese pieces, a loving homage to this marvelous people from whom I learned so much.”
The score of Pulau Dewata is dedicated to the McGill Percussion Ensemble. It does not specify instrumentation, permitting any combination of instruments that suits the scoring.
Notes from Radio Canada International Anthology of Canadian Music CD Set