“No More Moonlight Over Jakarta” was composed in 2017 for the 32 Bright Clouds project and received the World Premiere at the Changwon International Music Festival in Korea on April 6th, 2018. It is connected to Beethoven’s Sonata no. 14 in c sharp minor, “Moonlight”.
The piece is dedicated to the bravery of Ahok, the imprisoned ex-governor of Jakarta.
Ananda Sukarlan is one of Indonesia’s most prominent composers, with numerous international commissions and performances. His collaboration with the renowned Indonesian choreographer Chendra Panatan has given birth to many works for ballet, performed both in Europe and Indonesia. His first opera, based on the script by Seno Gumira Ajidarma, Mengapa Kau Culik Anak Kami? (Why did you kidnap our son?), based on a true story during the Suharto dictatorship, had its première in 2008 in Jakarta. His compositions include works for orchestra, chamber music and solo instruments, but it is his vocal compositions, art-songs, choral works and theatre works, that have consolidated his high reputation as a composer.
His third opera, "Clara" won the Indonesian best performance arts of the year 2014. He is currently working on a series of musical works written for disabled musicians, on a commission by Fundacion Musica Abierta of Spain.
A National Piano Competition, the Ananda Sukarlan Award, has been established in Indonesia to help the career of young pianists.
Sukarlan’s works have been the object of studies for many doctoral thesis and other musical researches by many students, professionals, musicians and musicologists in the U.S, Europe and Australia.
When Yael Weiss commissioned me as part of her “32 Bright Clouds” project to write music based on one of Beethoven’s 32 Piano Sonatas, I immediately thought of his “Moonlight” Sonata. The word for “Moonlight” in Indonesian is also the name of the ex-governor of Jakarta, Tjahja Purnama, popularly known as “Ahok”. This beloved governor was recently imprisoned as a result of the growing influence of hard-line Islamism inside the country. His imprisonment devastated the city, and the title of the piece “No More Moonlight Over Jakarta” refers to his ongoing detention.
The piece is a transformation of Beethoven’s Sonata to different styles from Chinese modes (Ahok the governor is of Chinese background), gamelan modes and also some pop and rock rhythms, while culminating with the unity of the “Dona Nobis Pacem” Peace theme from the Missa Solemnis. This mixture of styles conveys that Jakarta is a melting pot of so many diverse ethnic groups.
With this piece, I ask the world to focus on Indonesia and the injustice being done here. Ahok’s struggle is shared by all of us as we try to build a world free of corruption and intolerance.
“No More Moonlight over Jakarta” received its world premiere by Yael Weiss at the Changwon International Chamber Music Festival. It is dedicated to the musical artistry of Yael Weiss and the bravery and struggle of Ahok.
Watch and Listen
Music in the Vineyards, Napa California
August 24, 2018