Pulau Dewata

Claude Vivier

Pulau Dewata

  • Claude Vivier
  • Year of composition: 1977
  • Original work:
  • Version: Arr. Walter Boudreau, 1983
  • Duration: 12:07
  • Instrumentation: saxophone quartet

Pulau Dewata (Balinese for “Isle of the Gods”) was written after a journey to the Far-East, which, in 1977, led Claude Vivier as far as the Island of Bali. Dedicated to the Balinese, the work is described in the composer’s own words as a “tribute of love for a wonderful people who taught me so much.” Initially written for the McGill Percussion Ensemble, Pulau Dewata does not include specific instrumentation. This is pure, four-part music which can be adapted to “any combination of instruments” following certain instructions determined beforehand by the composer. The work is a succession of nine melodies (comprising from one to nine tones) employing modes and motifs reminiscent of those used by Balinese Gamelans. Although repetitive in nature, the music develops slowly through the addition of notes to the melodies and by subtle rhythmic inventions of the melodic poles (gruppettos, embellishments, etc.). The work can be divided roughly into four extensive, distinct sections preceded by a short introduction (melody 1 on tone; B-flat) and a “signature” characteristic of Balinese ensembles.