Don Robertson's Ballet "Kopavi"
"I am finished with synthesizers! I will write an orchestral work" It was 1989.
The experience of trying to create an orchestral work using the electronic instruments of the mid-1980s (my first Digital Symphony, "Anthem,") was so frustrating and difficult that I resolved to turn to writing for a real orchestra instead, and I dismantled my recording studio and put the equipment with which I had recorded "Resurrection, Anthem, Starmusic, Spring, Celestial Voyager and Anthem," into storage, and set up a writing table instead.
I returned to a study of orchestral music that I had pursued for so many ears of my past, refreshing my knowledge of orchestration, then in 1991, I began composing Kopavi. I knew what it was going to be before I started, as I could hear the whole thing in my head. I didn't have a title, but I had realized that it was going to be a Hopi word with three syllables. Yes, I know that this seems a little far-fetched, but folks, this is how it works when you are given music from the higher spiritual plateaus! And I am not afraid to speak my truth about the process. The next generation of composers will need these kinds of tools because music will play an active part in healing and uplifting a world that is crumbling quickly.
I decided that my choice of form for the piece would be the that employed in the classical music of India - starting out very slowly, then adding rhythm gradually until the end where the music finished with a stunning climax, then drifted away. It quickly became a ballet because all three of my lovely daughters were ballet dancers, my eldest, Rhonda, a choreographer. Additionally, daughter Heather was enrolled at the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan, where the orchestra conductor was going to perform the work.
The scenario for the ballet was simple. A man, or woman, dancer discovers the spiritual path that unfolds during the 25-minute work. I finished the music in 1993, and during the following year, the librarian for the Fort Collins Symphony (where I lived) created the parts for the musicians. All was finally ready, but Interlochen got a new conductor, the brother of the captain of the Exxon Valdez, and he had no interest in performing it. Kopavi went onto the shelf.
About seven years later, when I was living in Georgia, I decided to attempt to create a midi realization of the work using the equipment that I had at that time. There were three sections that I choose to realize. I could not do the entire work then because it would push the limits of the equipment in my studio. I created four excerpts for demo purposes.
The name? Well I had seen very clearly years before that there was a three-syllable word that was in the Hopi Native American language. The music has a wordless choir except for one point where this three-syllable word is sung. The score was completed, but I still did not know what this word was, so I started to research. I picked up the "Book of the Hopi" by Frank Waters at a Denver bookstore and brought it home, opened it and immediately saw the word "Kopavi," which is the Hopi word for the "Crown Chakra." It was the most perfectly descriptive word for not only the music, but the experience that I was going through on a personal level during the composition of the music.