Thursday, July 28, 2016

Prasit Thawon Ensemble: Thai Classical Music

This 1994 release on England's Nimbus Records is a beautiful example of the classical music of Thailand, as rendered by The Prasit Thawon Ensemble.

Utilizing horns; percussion including bells, gongs, finger cymbals, and woodblocks; alto and soprano xylophones and vocals, the long tradition of music, whether the pieces are older or new, from the Asian nation is given excellent expression by the ensemble, anchored by the two long centerpieces of the album, the exquisite 23 1/2-minute long "Sumran Dontri Klong" and the nearly 27-minute long "Cherd Chin."

Interestingly, the latter dates from the mid-19th century while the former was newly composed by Prasit Thawon, the leader of the performing ensemble, when this recording was made.

The group was founded in the late 1950s as "The Ensemble of the Dramatic School" at Bangkok and it performed in concerts and for radio and television broadcasts.  After Prasit Thawon retired in the mid-1980s, the ensemble was renamed "Sitti Thawon" and then to The Prasit Thawon Ensemble as a further honor to the founder.

The recording was made as part of an international conference devoted to Thailand at a London studio and is a fine representation of the fascingting music of that country.

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