Cambodia

Cambodge: Musiques du Palais Royal
Années soixante
Ocora (Radio France) C 560034

Contents:

    Musique Royale Mohori
  1. Maha Rik Maha Chey
  2. Sakrava Mohori
  3. Yum Yeam

  4. Musique Royale Pinpeat
  5. Tonsay Prasoeur
  6. Kramon Dos Chenchean
  7. Krao Nay Krao Nâk

  8. Musique Pinpeat du Ballet Royal
  9. Danse des Apsaras
  10. Reamker

Directors: Nol Mech (pinpeat & mohori orchestras) & Em Theay (sakrava & pinpeat choirs)

Playing time: 74'

Recording dates: 1966 (tracks 1, 2, 4, 5; mono) & 1970 (3, 6-8; stereo)

This remains the most illustrative single program for the artistic style of the Cambodian royal court at the height of its modern resurgence in the 1960s.

The mohori orchestra focuses on xylophones, bowed & plucked string instruments, and skin drums. It is used here to accompany a sakrava choir in two pieces for coronation ceremonies. Generally, mohori ("music that delights the soul") is considered to be music for royal entertainment, but also has ritual functions as here. Track #3, a mourning liturgy, is for the female choir unaccompanied.

The four major components of the pinpeat orchestra are the wood xylophones, the gongs, the reed woodwinds, and the skin drums. This is considered to be solemn & abstract music, and these are some of the oldest instruments in the region. The short tracks #4 & #5 are also for coronation ceremonies, and also feature choirs. Track #6 is longer & without voices, a medley of famous themes from shadow theater.

Of the two pieces to accompany the ballet, the final track here is a battle scene from the Ramayana, whereas track #7 is "pure" dance music.

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To Southeast Asian music intro.

T. M. McComb