cello and piano

Robert Morris

Program Notes

Karuna for cello and piano takes its title from one of the nine rasa-s (literally "juices") of Hindu aesthetic theory. It is thought that each rasa's set of affects can arise from the correct composition of gestures, musical materials and performance situations. Karuna connotes the mood of longing for union with a lover or God. This is echoed by the kinds of lines, materials and interactions given to the two players.

This composition is one of a projected series of works which include Raudra (anger and fury) for solo flute, Shanti (peace and serenity) for 3 clarinets, Vibhatsa (disgust) for soprano and alto saxophones, Vira (heroism) for tuba, flute and percussion, and Bhakti (religious fervor) for harp, guitar and harpsichord. From these titles it is evident that the "acceptable" spectrum of emotional expression within the Hindu classical performance arts is as least as wide as its counterpart in Western art music and jazz.

Karuna is recorded on Composers Recordings (CRI-484) by Lloyd Smith, cello, and Rita Smith, piano.