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Peter Pears: Balinese Ceremonial Music is nine songs written by Thomas Bartlett (aka Doveman) and Nico Muhly plus three gamelan transcriptions by ethnomusicologist Colin McPhee, which inspired the new songs. Bartlett and Muhly play pianos and keyboards on the album, and Bartlett sings, joined by other musicians on strings and metallic pitched percussion. McPhee recorded a suite of Balinese ceremonial music with Benjamin Britten in 1941. Muhly says: "The project is named after Peter Pears, who was Britten's partner and also an observer and collaborator of a larger community of musicians, writers, and thinkers."