Saturday, September 11, 2010
A video portrait on the occasion of Pak Cokro's 100th birthday. Pak Cokro (also known as KPH Notoprojo, KRT Wasitodiningrat, KRT Wasitodipuro), was one of the most important musicians of the 20th century, born into the royal house of Pakualaman, the minor court in Yogyakarta, Java, Pak Cokro eventually became music director of the Pakualaman and of the Yogyanese radio station. He was central to a movement to combine the classical gamelan styles of the two Central Javanese kingdoms, Surakarta and Yogyakarta, and became known in the west first through the Nonesuch recording produced by Robert E. Brown, and then directly, through many years of teaching in California. In California, his many students included the composer Lou Harrison. A performance of the Pakualaman's traditional royal entry piece, Puspawarna, under Pak Cokro's leadership was included in the recording which accompanied the Voyager spacecraft, a perfect example of human music-making at its very best. This informal documentary is a valuable record of one of the last musicians to have worked as a functionary in the semi-autonumous court environment in the colonial era under the Dutch and then during the Japanese occupation of Indonesia and finally functioning as a state composer in the independent Republic of Indonesia.