Art, Culture and Aesthetics

Western and World Music

Ode to Joy: Beethoven

I am delighted to share the finale of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony – An ode to joy. The composer was stone deaf when he composed this.

All for the man who was so bitter in life, to the extent of being considered a misanthrope and a grouch. In my view no other western classical composer has captured joy in such spontaneous exuberance. Towards the last part of this composition, Beethoven sweeps men and women to the realm of the gods, bursting opening the floods gates of the joys of heaven on earth!

This has been performed at Olympics, Football World Cup and when the Berlin wall fell !!

Of Spring, Vivaldi and Tagore

Vivaldi’s Four Seasons (which has 12 concertos in total) is so exquisitely composed that you can actually see and feel the four seasons with your ears!

The reason why Vivaldi’s Spring Concerto appeals to me so much is because of its vividness and completeness in the depiction of spring. The flow, the ebb and tide of nature are depicted by Vivaldi at times dramatically and at other times very subtly through the sequence of fast-slow-fast movements and skilful use of ‘dynamics’ (the use of soft and loud musical notes).

The first, second and fourth movements are sprightly and that is so characteristic of spring. Spring after all is the celebration of youth, of love, of regeneration, of hope and of joy. The riot of colors, the bird song, the brook, the gentle breeze, the rustle and murmur of the leaves, the sound of the festivities, the joy is all so visible in the first movement.

Yet when you go on to the third movement, the pace slows and you get a sense of melancholy and uncertainty (associated with languor of the mid day), which is yet another aspect of spring. The transient nature of this season also invokes emotions of sadness. It also in a way reminds us that joy, beauty, youth are all transient.

Tagore was another poet composer who captured the two rather polar emotions associated with the spring so beautifully and so eternally.

On the one hand, you have songs like ‘Ore Bhai phagun legeche bone bone’, ‘Ore griho-bashi’, ‘Rong lagale bone bone’ etc that bring out the vibrancy and joy of spring so well both in the their lyrics and melodies. On the other hand, songs like ‘Boshone aaj dhorar chitto holo utola’, or ‘Diye genu boshontero ei gaan khani’, ‘Boshonte ke shudhu phota phuler maala ‘bring out the melancholy of spring in its full poignancy.

The fundamental difference in the musical approach of Vivaldi and Tagore is that while the former is predominantly concerned with the depiction of the beauty and diversity of nature in its physical form as we see it, the latter’s primary interest is in the range and nuances of human emotions and psychological states that nature invokes.

Well that is my personal view, as I understand it.

Enough of analysis! Spring is in the air and I leave you with Vivaldi’s Spring Concerto. Hope you like it.

Winter by Vivaldi

Winter has arrived and I am delighted to share the winter concerto from Vivaldi’s celebrated ‘Four Seasons’. You can feel the calm of the winter interjected by sudden snow storms, blizzards and icy rainfall. At times you can also feel snow flakes floating gently.

Hope you enjoy it …

Carmel A Cappella

Vivaldi’s ‘Four Seasons’ – Spring, rendered by five beautiful female vocalists. This is for the first time that I am hearing a vocal rendition of the Violin Concerto, which is one of the finest examples of Baroque music.

Hope you enjoy it.

Sting

One of the best fusion experiments I have come across – two outstanding artists meeting each other on the same footing…

Me nina Lola

I am delighted to present Senora Concha Buika, a favorite singer of mine.

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