Hands Percussion's ambitious "Tchaikovsky On Gamelan" concert turned the Russian composer's familiar ballet scores into an otherworldly experience.
Hands Percussion's ambitious Tchaikovsky On Gamelan, recently concluded at KLPac, was technically ingenious, artistically monumental, and sonically sublime.
The premise of Hands Percussion’s latest stage production Tchaikovsky On Gamelan, which finished its two-week run at the KL Performing Arts Centre on Aug 24, is simple enough to comprehend: Play some of the most well-known compositions by one of Russia’s most renowned composers using a gamelan ensemble.
It’s when the thought sinks in and one starts imagining how on earth such music would sound like that the concept sort of skids into absurdist territory. Like Smoke On The Water played on spoons and kazoos, Tchaikovksy on gamelan just sounds so wacky, if not downright sacrilegious.
But it’s also hugely exciting. To my limited knowledge, no one has ever attempted to interpret Tchaikovsky on gamelan before. And in all my years of listening to music, I’ve yet to come across a gamelan ensemble perform Western classical music … until now, that is – and what an experience!
From the first notes to peal from the gamelan and Chinese percussion instruments – augmented by marimba, cello, violin, bassoon and clarinet – to the swells of the final crescendo, I find myself at the end of the concert completely energised and unnerved by what Hands Percussion has achieved.