Kamavardhani (2010) Based upon the Karnatic music melakarta, Kamavardhani, scored for piano, tabla, dholak, dhol, Indian bells, rotating drum, tanpura
Kamavardhai is the fifty-first melakarta (System of 72 Scales) of Karnatic music. It shares the same swaras as Raga Bhairava in Hindustani music, with the notable difference of tivra madhyama (raised fourth) in place of madhayama (natural fourth).
After completing two alap compositions, I was eager to return to percussion writing with this piece featuring four pairings of piano with a composite drum voice drawn from tabla, dholak and dhol timbres. Beginning with a slow gat, the four gats of Kamavardhani exhibit an increase in tempo, with the fourth gat moving like a flash. For myself, there is nothing in music more basic and challenging than presenting pure melody and rhythm in such a transparent manner. Among my earliest compositions made when I was an undergraduate are works featuring much a similar plan of one melody voice with percussion even though I was not cognizant, let alone knowledgeable, about Indian classical music at the time.
- Michael Robinson, September 2010, Los Angeles (excerpted from original liner notes)