These intriguing pieces are arrangements of Balinese gamelan music. The suite is called Gambangan after an ancient Balinese instrument which lends its name to a modern piece for the gong kebyar from which these pieces are taken. Gong kebyar is a type of gamelan ensemble which evolved in the early 20th century and consists ideally of about 20-30 players, involving metallophones, gongs, drums and Balinese flutes. It is by nature fast and robust in comparison to the slow, mellow Javanese style, and is frequently used to accompany dance.
In this arrangement, Colin McPhee has attempted to get across the general flavour of this ceremonial music. Tuning differences are of course an obstacle, but since it is normal in Bali for a piece written for one type of gamelan to be performed on another - for instance the smaller gamelan anklung - with a different tuning system, this is not considered a difficulty.
Please note: two scores needed to perform.