Acharanga is a vibrant, driving piece that derives its name from the Acharanga Sutra — a sacred Jain text. While Jainism is a religion most commonly known for its peaceful preservation of all forms of life, the text that inspired this piece is fiery and prescriptive, imploring the listener to act and think responsibly.
The original version of this melody, with the words above, comes from movement 6 of my oratorio, This Love Between Us. Listen to a recording of this movement here.
This is an educational version of movement 6 from This Love Between Us. Currently there is not a recording available of this version for string orchestra, but there is a recording of a version for student violin/piano available here.
Special Performance Requirements
Sitar and tabla parts are designed to be played by students of these instruments who are at a similar level to the string students playing the orchestra parts. The tabla part is in a simple madhya laya Rupak throughout, and sitar part is a bandish in Raag Kafi, which can be taught by rote or learned by ear, with entrances cued by conductor.
The piece can be played by string orchestra alone. Tabla and/or sitar can also be added (one or both are fine). Sitar can also be replaced by another melodic instrument (bansuri, or even Indian vocals).
Amplification is always required for Hindustani musicians, unless they are playing in a very small space, with very few other musicians. A student might not know to ask for this, and it might seem excessive by Western music standards, but it is an absolute necessity for Indian music, even for student performers.
The intention of Acharanga is for students of Hindustani classical music to be able to play with students of Western classical music. (note: if you have a student who studies Carnatic music, this piece could likely be modified work for them as well.)
Audio Guide forthcoming.
This piece was commissioned by Brian McGowan, conductor of William Annin Middle School Orchestra in Bridgewater, NJ. It was premiered in June, 2018 at William Annin Middle School.