A ‘raga’ is a concept in Indian classical music that encompasses the scale patterns, necessary pitch inflections, and key musical phrases assigned to a defined set of pitches. There are several hundred individual ragas in use in the practice of Karnatak (South Indian classical) music. This piece utilizes one specific raga – ramapriya – as its primary pitch material. The title refers to three musical progressions that occur throughout the piece: (1) a series of cascades in the strings used as a bed of sound on top of which (2) various solos throughout the ensemble sing out the raga intermittently (particularly the cello), which are (3) orchestrated by a series of chord progressions composed of the pitch set associated with the raga ramapriya. While the chord progressions and cascades in the strings deploy only cursory soundings of the raga, the solos that emerge from the texture of the piece allow ramapriya to vibrate in its full richness.
Performed by Eastman School Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Maurice Cohn.