The music of the great bronze orchestras of four royal courts defines the tradition and exemplifies the highest artistic standard for thousands of similar, if less resplendent, gamelans in the towns and villages of Central Java. Although the origins of these large ensembles of carefully fashioned gongs and metallophones are prehistoric, most derive stylistically from the 18th century, a period of internecine warfare and political unrest. The instruments heard in this recording and the particular musical heritage they represent reflect the unique position of the Mangkunegaran court as it developed over 200 years.
Recorded at the Istana Mangkunegaran, Sarakaria, by Robert E. Brown. Originally released in 1977.