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Narong Prangcharoen: Sattha for strings, piano and percussion

June 10, 2008

Thai composer Prangcharoen will be releasing a CD of his music very soon. In his cycle of orchestral works Sattha stands out not only for its power and imagination, but also for it's heartbreaking solos which draw closely from Thai traditional elements. Prangcharoen writes in his score preface in 2005:

"Sattha was inspired by the tragic tsunami of December 2004 in South Asia, which killed some 200 000 people in thirteen countries. I wrote this music to commemorate the first anniversary of that event. This tsunami, generated by an undersea earthquake, was one of the deadliest disasters of our time. Scientists reported that the earthquake itself lasted nearly ten minutes, when before, even the worst earthquakes had lasted no longer than a few seconds. This event caused the entire planet to vibrate, triggering earthquakes in Alaska and causing damage as far away as the east coast of Africa. Between 170 000 to 250 000 people are thought to have diead as a result of the tsunami, but the count is still not complete.

Sattha - "fate" in Thai - is scored for strings, piano and percussion, and ensemble that is intended to convey the atmosphere of this event with a smaller number of instruments than a full orchestra, while paying respect to such other musical elegies as the Adagion for Strings by Barber and the Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima by Penderecki. The music imitates the movement of the waves and the vibratins caused by the earthquake. Each solo instrument represents both the peicentre, the point on the earth's surface directly above the place where an earthquake originates, and the hypocentre, the actual location of the energy released inside the earth. The entire piece moves slowly and creates an enormous wave of sond towards the end.

I hope this piece reminds people about what happened in the tsunami disaster and encourages all the victims who are struggling to recover."