Friday, November 20, 2015

Darbari: The King of Ragas

Abir Hussain, sarod
"...a force to reckon with..." Times of India

Sandip Ghosh, tabla

Friday, 20th November, 7pm

Next to the sitar, the sarod is the most important stringed music in north Indian classical music. It has been described as a four stringed 'lute'. But it could equally be compared to the banjo, having a goat skin covered bowl which resonates like a banjo. However, unlike the banjo or the lute, the sarod does not have frets. In that respect, the instrument resembles a slide guitar.

The sarod has four main strings and between nine and eleven sympathetic strings. The combination of the skin covered bowl and the sympathetic strings give the instrument its rich tone, described in wikipedia as a "deep, weighty, introspective sound", in contrast to the "sweet, overtone-rich texture of the sitar". 

Abir Hussain is one of the most celebrated sarod players of the younger generation. He recently performed at the 63rd Dover Lane Music Conference, which is the most prestigious musical event in India. He was subsequently described by the Times of India as, " becoming a force to reckon with in the Hindustani classical concert circle". Read the full interview here.

Sandip Ghosh thrilled the Eelswamp audience in December, last year, accompanying sitarist, Purbayan Chatterjee. Sandip has since played with all the big names in Indian classical music, including Shujaat Khan, son of Vilayat Khan, and Shahid Parvez.

I have asked Abir and Sandip to perform Raag Darbari. According to sarodist, Rahul Bhattacharya, in his article, 'Raga Darbari: The King of Ragas, the Raga of Kings' ,

"Words cannot adequately describe the majesty of this Raga. In many ways, Darbari encapsulates all there is to say about Hindustani Classical music: the repose, the space, the meditative nature, the plaintive aspect, the introspection… the list goes on."

Join me on Friday, 20th November for this rare opportunity to hear Darbari on sarod.

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Starting time: As Raag Darbari is a raga of the late evening, we will start a little later than usual. Performance will start at 7pm and finish around 9pm, possibly later. 

Reservations: 1,000 baht per person. 

Email for reservations. For more information call 038 069681 during office hours. Due to limited number of places payment must be received before the day. 

Directions to Eelswamp: can be found at the bottom of this page: If you haven't been to Eelswamp before I strongly urge you to find the venue before the day of the concert.

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Friday, November 6, 2015

Two Grand Trios

Two Grand Trios and Brahms Cello Sonatas

Tasana Nagavajara, violin
Alexandre Vay, cello
Dimitri Papadopoulos, piano

The two superb French musicians, Alexandre Vay, cello and Dimitri Papadopoulos, piano who performed the complete Beethoven Cello cycle last year, will return to Eelswamp to perform another meaty program. They will play the Tchaikovsky A minor Trio and the Dvorak F minor Trio, two of the grandest works in the trio repertoire. Each trio will be performed with one of the two Brahms Cello Sonatas.

Friday 6th, 6pm

A few places available.

Dvorak, Trio in F minor, op. 65

One of Dovrak's finest chamber works, this trio was written in 1883 after the death of the composer's mother. According to Kai Christiansen, "it is uncharacteristically serious, stormy and fraught with tragic conflict, unusual for a man generally regarded as sanguine, uncomplicated and most un-neurotic...his first complex chamber music master work.. a stunning epic."

The trio is written in four movements and follows the classical model. According to Christiansen, 

"The slow movement is the true heart of the trio as the wild, conflicted energies of the first two movements settle into an elegy of supreme grace and radiant affection, perhaps a sensitive man tenderly recalling his departed mother without struggle or remorse..."

Brahms Cello Sonata no. 2 in F major, op. 99.

Written in the mountain retreat of Hofstetten in 1886, this a mature work in four movements, described by one of Brahms's pupil's, Florence May, as "broad and energetic, touching, passionate and vivacious".

Sunday 8th, 5pm  
Waiting list only

Tchaikovsky Trio in A minor and Brahms Cello Sonata in E minor.

In 1880, Tchaikovsky famously refused to write a trio, after being requested by one of his most beloved benefactors. He wrote,

You ask why I have never written a trio. Forgive me, dear friend; I would do anything to give you pleasure, but this is beyond me ... I simply cannot endure the combination of piano with violin or cello. To my mind the timbre of these instruments will not blend ... it is torture for me to have to listen to a string trio or a sonata of any kind for piano and strings.

Nonetheless, on the death of his friend, Nikolay Rubenstein, in 1883, Tchaikovsky relented and wrote one of the most superb trios in the chamber music repertoire. The A minor Trio is a grand work in two big movements, the second of which is a set of variations on a theme, ranging through numerous musical forms, including a mazurka and a fugue. No doubt the variations sketch a portrait of Rubenstein. The trio has a wonderful sense of balance as the main theme in the first movement comes back to replace the mirth of the variations, and we are left in a reflective mood, to contemplate the enormity of the composer's loss.

Brahms Cello Sonata no. 1 in E minor, op. 38.

This sonata is a homage to Bach. Both the first and third movements resemble Bach's "Art of Fugue", with quotes from Contrapunctus 4 and 13 from that great work. It was written between 1863 and 1865, when Brahms was in his early thirties.

Alexandre Vay and Dimitri Papadopoulos are two French musicians who have been playing together since Conservatory days in Lyon. Alexandre is co-soloist in the Munich Radio Orchestra. Dimitri is 'Professeur' at Geneva Conservatory. Alexandre and Dimitri performed the complete Beethoven Cello Sonata and Variation cycle last year at Eelswamp and I am delighted to have them return for another ambitious program.

Reservations: 1,200 baht for one concert. 2,000 baht for both. Email or call 038 069681 office hours. Due to limited number of places payment must be received before the day.

Directions to Eelswamp: search for 'Eelswamp' on google maps. Directions can be found at the bottom of this page:

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