North Indian Classical Music From Dr Ananda Gupta 

Phoebe Woollam reviews 'festival of delightful music which captivated us all'

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Blenheim Concerts


The next concert in the series will be on Sunday 14th September at 3.30 pm in the Chiswick Catholic centre.
Elizabeth Cooney - Violin and Matthew Schellhorn - piano will play Ravel, Messiaen and Poulenc

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If there are any teachers reading this, I strongly advise them to contact Dr Ananda Gupta and his Indian Music group and ask him to give a study session with their students.

Not only was their concert informative, it gave us a complete overview of the thirteen ragas that form the core of North Indian Classical music, each one appropriate for different times throughout the day. Dr Gupta explained the meaning of each raga before we heard it and so we were able to focus on the important aspects of the various musical textures as we listened.

There were three singers accompanying the seven player ensemble (always backed by an electronic drone) and the instrumental group consisted of two harmoniums with ornate silver bellows, a flute, brass cymbals, tabla, a sarangi and a sitar. Each player was a virtuoso in his own right. There were solo passages as in jazz improvisation and the group was joined by Sharmistha Mukherjee, one of the leading Kathak dancers in India, her intricate footwork mirroring the tabla rhythms.

The use of microtones, slides, rhythmic cycles and tremolandi gave the music a vocabulary that was unfamiliar to an audience whose listening was rooted in the western tradition, but we were captivated by the textures and meditative quality of the sound, in particular the Raga Desh (the sweetest of all Ragas) which had short phrases creating a dialogue between dancer and sarangi.

This was much more than a concert. It was a festival of delightful music which captivated us all.

Phoebe Woollam

The Blenheim Music Circle was formed in 1987 to promote public concerts and recitals by professional musicians in the Chiswick area. Since its formation it has presented 120 concerts, which have featured more than 350 young musicians. It is entirely dependent on members’ subscriptions, ticket sales and advertising support from local businesses. The season runs from January to December and comprises six concerts presented in alternate months. All concerts in 2008 will be held at the Chiswick Catholic Centre

The membership subscription for all six concerts is £27 (£4.50 per concert)
Non-members’ admission at the door is £6. Details of the 2008 season and contacts are attached.

Home-made teas are served after each concert.

August 6, 2008

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