Michael Robinson

Natabhairavi

Cover art is handmade paper from India

 

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other platforms with the new orchestration for Natabhairavi coming soon!

 

1. Natabhairavi 57.59

meruvina: piri, trumpet, cimbalom, clarinet, tabla, ghatam, dholak, dhol, rotating drum, rain stick, buk, three tanpuras

autograph score

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Natabhairavi was given a new orchestration in June 2020. Here are the original liner notes substituting the instruments used in the new orchestration, cimbalom and clarinet, and adding several new paragraphs.

Natabhairavi is the twentieth mela of Karnatic music. It was first ushered into Hindustani music by Ravi Shankar, perhaps influenced in doing so by his guru, Allauddhin Khan.

My composition for meruvina features one medium-slow laya throughout its four sections. The first section features a piri, the second section a trumpet, the third section a cimbalom, and clarinet is featured in the fourth and concluding section.

For percussion, the first section uses tabla bols, the second adds additional tabla bols, the third introduces ghatam bols to the tabla bols, and the fourth brings dholak bols together with the established tabla and ghatam bols. Each of the four melodic voices are joined by a rotating drum, and the overall texture is expanded with three tanpura drones and a dhol ostinato.

A melodic figure, accompanied by a rain stick, is played by the featured melodic timbres at the beginning of each section. The tabla in the opening section is also accompanied by the rain stick.

Natabhairavi, which begins and ends with strokes from a buk, was originally composed in 2004, and the meruvina realization and recording were completed in 2007.

In June 2020, a new orchestration of Natabhairavi was recorded, replacing ud and harp with cimbalom and clarinet, and this is the version featured here. Other than this orchestration change, not one note or any other musical detail was altered. I was never satisfied with the orchestration for the second half of Natabhairavi, and am thrilled to have finally addressed the issue, now presenting my composition in its best light.

Natabhairavi was my first composition following Dhani, a work three-and-a-half hours long, and it remains a special favorite, with a most visceral overall presence, and an opening phrase modeled after Pandit Jasraj intoning, "Om Shiva," which is repeated at the beginning of each of the four sections. Natabhairavi has a devotional rasa while focusing on interplay between the through-composed melodic and percussion voices.

- Michael Robinson, Los Angeles, September 2007-June 2020

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