Originally, the music in Ekarong 1 was the complete music for the ballet "Manohra", a collaboration of Sinnapa Sarasas and Jirapan Ansvanda, the composers and Vararom McGregor, the choreographer. The production was a full-length Western ballet based on a Thai story. The music as well as the choreography are a hybrid of Western and Thai music and dance. The ballet had its first performance at the Thailand Cultural Centre in 1987.
The story of the ballet was taken from the well-known Thai literature based on an episode titled "Suthon Jataka" from the ancient Pali Jataka. The story of "Suthon Mahnora" has been an important literacy source for various kinds of Thai performing arts, be it dance, drama, or the folk drama - likae and nohra.
Sinnapa and Vararom settled on this story for various reasons. The story is already well-known and well-loved by all Thais, the story contains many beautiful images which can perfectly be transferred into a 3-D art, be it the imaginary land of Mount Krailas, Himmapan forest or the celestial beauty of "Kinaree", the female bird-people. Besides, the existing Thai choreography for the "Manohra" dance drama blends well with the concept of the Western ballet.
Some of the existing music for the older "Manohra" performances are also well-known and are extremely powerful musically. The music for the ballet "Manohra" is based on 2 existing songs in particular, namely Sud-Chatree and Manohra Buchayan. The theme from Manohra Buchayan is the symbol of Manohra and is transformed into various variations in the course of the music.
The music consists of 10 movements:
1. Beginning: consists of an Overture taken from Sud-Chatree, accompanying "Kinaree bathing" scene with the lyrical melody in the synthesizer portraying Manohra and finally the music to the scene "Capturing the Kinaree".
2. Despair: The piano renders the melody based on "Manohra Buchayan", accompanying the scene when Manohra is captured.
3. Promenade: The theme is a newly invented melody representing the young Prince Suthon.
4. Love: The music accompanies the pas de deux of Prince Suthon and Manohra when they first meet and fall in love.
5. Evil: The aggressive electric guitar is the voice of the evil Purohit. Towards the end, the sound of the drums, small cymbals and synthesizer join in, accompanying the scene when the Purohit casts his black magic over the king.
6. Sacrifice: The music accompanies Manohra's dance before the sacrificial fire. The ancient "Manohra Buchayan" song is performed here by synthesizer, guitar, and Thai percussions.
7. Lament: Synthesizer renders a lamenting tune when Prince Suthon learns of his wife's tragedy.
8. Himmapan: The music accompanies the scene in Himmapan Forest where Prince Suthon fights bravely with the magic monsters and Purohit.
9. Sud-Chatree: The music accompanies the scene where Prince Suthon is made to choose Manohra. The rhythm pattern of the ancient "Sud-Chatree" is combined with newly invented melodies in the synthesizers and guitar.
10. Ending: This movement combines all the important themes as well as the overall mood of the ballet heard in the previous movements. The movement begins with a solo guitar representing Prince Suthon is love, followed by the music from the "Kinaree bathing" scene, and concludes with "Krilas Sumreung" and important piece composed by Montree Tramote, the revered Thai music master.
"มโนราห์" เป็นงานทดลองที่ยากเข็ญงานหนึ่งที่เราทำมา การที่เป็นเพลงประกอบบัลเลต์ทำให้งานชิ้นนี้ไม่มีคำร้อง การฟังจึงต้องอาศัยสมาธิและจินตนาการมากกว่าเพลงร้องทั่วไป แต่ด้วยเนื้อเรื่องที่คนไทยทุกคนย่อมรู้จักดี เราคิดว่าไม่ยากเกินไปที่ทุกคนจะร่วมสนุกด้วยได้หรือหากจะนึกสนุกสร้างจินตนาการไปเป็นเรื่องอื่นก็ย่อมเป็นไปได้ ขอขอบคุณทุกๆคนที่มีส่วนร่วมให้เกิดผลงานดังกล่าวขึ้น เพราะลำพังเราสองคน เสียงเพลงต่างๆก็ยังคงเป็นแค่เสียงที่ดังอยู่ในสมองแค่นั้นเอง