For the Morning of the World

Orchestra 2001; James Freeman, conductor

A friend mentioned recently that encountering something small done perfectly is one of the most satisfying experiences. Listening to the molto lento of Gerald Levinson’s For the Morning of the World, I had a similar epiphany. It turns out that the simple melody that snakes through the entire movement is based on the “highly refined, archaic Gamelan Semar Pegulingan (Gamelan of the Love God).” Performed by Orchestra 2001 using western timbres, the lines lose any specifically “world music” edge and instead float exotically in the mist just off the coast of an unnamed country.

—MS