Winners of the Spanish Guitar Competition 2016
1ST PRIZE, OPEN CATEGORY
Dipankar wins the opportunity to participate in a guitar festival in Spain (courtesy the Embassy of Spain New Delhi) and a winner’s recital at the Instituto Cervantes New Delhi.
Guitar Strings & accessories sponsored by Savarez.
1st PRIZE UNDER 18
Anubhav wins an Altamira Guitar courtesy the Altamira Foundation & Iserlohn Guitar Festival
Guitar Strings & accessories sponsored by Savarez.
2nd PRIZE UNDER 18
Guitar Strings & accessories sponsored by Savarez.
3rd PRIZE UNDER 18
Guitar Strings & accessories sponsored by Savarez.
Orchestral Music: A gentle introduction
by Kuldeep Barve
Today’s Adda was dedicated to listening to orchestral music. Continuing the discussion, here are some wonderful videos which are good introductions to the orchestra
Benjamin Britten’s ‘Young Persons Guide to the Orchestra’
Sergei Prokofiev’s ‘Peter and the Wolf’ recited by David Bowie
A set of videos about the different orchestral instruments
Igor Stravinsky’s ‘THE RITE OF SPRING’
Why are we listening to the Rite of Spring?
The Rite of Spring or ‘Le Sacre du Printemps’, composed by Igor Stravinsky is considered one of the most important compositions in the Western Classical tradition. It was written for a ballet, a production by the famous ‘Ballet Russe’ under the direction of Sergei Diaghilev. This piece was composed around 1913, at a time when not only western classical music, but the art world in general was going through a major transition. Impressionism in France, various nationalistic styles emerging in Russia, Hungary, etc., and atonal music of Schoenberg are few of the instances of this transition. Romanticism was breathing its last breath.
Looking back, we can also situate these changes in a broader social context; society was itself going through massive changes. The age old empires and the aristocracy were challenged and a new order seemed apparent. The Russian revolution was around the corner and so was the first world war.
All this is just a very brief background on the times, but that is not the reason why this piece is important. The Rite of Spring, from the time when it was performed for the first time in Paris, where it provoked and scandalised the audience, has grown in importance as a monumental piece of music with staying power. Listening to it today, more than a hundred years later, it still is as powerful and effervescent. Bernstein, in his small portrait of Stravinsky, says that in his music, we can hear the Russian tradition of Scriabin, Rimsky Korsakov (Stravinsky’s teacher) but also Debussy and Ravel. Although, it was difficult to take for audiences then, Bernstein says looking back Stravinsky’s music that it is deeply entrenched in tonality, in Russian folk traditions (partly this came from composers like his teacher Rimsky Korsakov, Mussorgsky etc.). This is an aspect which I find very relevant today. We all come from a rich and diverse country like India and we should not overlook the vast melodic, rhythmic and structural possibilities which we can draw upon.
What to listen for in the The Rite of Spring?
The piece is one of the most sophisticated pieces but manages to stay completely raw in its sonority. It reminds one of primitive rituals, earthy smells and vivid colour. Spring, which is a season of change is what characterises this piece.
Structure and story (from wikipedia)
|Episode||English translation||Synopsis[n 1]|
|Part I: L’Adoration de la Terre (Adoration of the Earth)|
|Introduction||Introduction||Before the curtain rises, an orchestral introduction resembles, according to Stravinsky, “a swarm of spring pipes [dudki]”|
|Les Augures printaniers||Augurs of Spring||The celebration of spring begins in the hills. An old woman enters and begins to foretell the future.|
|Jeu du rapt||Ritual of Abduction||Young girls arrive from the river, in single file. They begin the “Dance of the Abduction”.|
|Rondes printanières||Spring Rounds||The young girls dance the Khorovod, the “Spring Rounds”.|
|Jeux des cités rivales||Ritual of the Rival Tribes||The people divide into two groups in opposition to each other, and begin the “Ritual of the Rival Tribes”.|
|Cortège du sage: Le Sage||Procession of the Sage: The Sage||A holy procession leads to the entry of the wise elders, headed by the Sage who brings the games to a pause and blesses the earth.|
|Danse de la terre||Dance of the Earth||The people break into a passionate dance, sanctifying and becoming one with the earth.|
|Part II: Le Sacrifice (The Sacrifice)|
|Cercles mystérieux des adolescentes||Mystic Circles of the Young Girls||The young girls engage in mysterious games, walking in circles.|
|Glorification de l’élue||Glorification of the Chosen One||One of the young girls is selected by fate, being twice caught in the perpetual circle, and is honoured as the “Chosen One” with a martial dance.|
|Evocation des ancêtres||Evocation of the Ancestors||In a brief dance, the young girls invoke the ancestors.|
|Action rituelle des ancêtres||Ritual Action of the Ancestors||The Chosen One is entrusted to the care of the old wise men.|
|Danse sacrale (L’Élue)||Sacrificial Dance||The Chosen One dances to death in the presence of the old men, in the great “Sacrificial Dance”.|
Listen and note the following –
- The high register opening motif, played on the bassoon. This melody is drawn from a Russian folk tune.
- Stravinsky introduces all the main instruments and notice that the wind instruments are central to this piece. The bassoon, the clarinet, the english horn, the bass clarinet. The string section is used more as a rhythmic instrument as a whole. The timpani is also used a lot for rhythmic texture and drive. There are some unconventional instruments used as well.
- Notice how these instruments are playing different motifs and themes, and a rhythmic, primitive melodic mesh is created….imagine you are in a field or amidst nature in springtime.
- Listen for ostinatos. There are many places in the piece wherein Stravinsky sets up ostinatos
- Try and imagine different instrument groups representing different story themes or characters. For example, the bassoons are mimicking the village elders.
- Listen to the tension that created especially in the last part when the chosen girl is sacrificed
‘Keeping Score’, a documentary featuring Michael Tilson Thomas (conductor of the San Francisco Symphony), throws light on Stravinsky and the Russian Tradition.
This short film is a tribute to Igor Stravinsky by Leonard Bernstein:
All major composers have been influenced by Stravinsky in one way or the other. Here is Leo Brouwer, one of the most important composers for the guitar in the 20th century conducting his own ‘Concerto de Toronto’ written for guitar and orchestra with Jorge Caballero on guitar.
Most of the important composers for the guitar from the 1950s onwards have increasingly been writing for orchestra, other ensembles and film scores. It’s important that we listen to their non-guitar music as well to get a holistic understanding of the composer.
I feel that as Indians, we are exposed to a lot of rich music from our own traditions (either folk or classical or semi-classical) and western music in all its forms (folk, pop, rock, jazz, blues, classical, etc.). As musicians we should absorb this richness with open ears and hearts. At the same time, we should concentrate on our main instrument, the guitar and its repertoire.
An important aspect of being a musician is to be aware of what tradition the composer is coming from. Let’s say that you are playing a piece by Albeniz. It’s of utmost importance to read about Albeniz’s life, his times, his influences and other music by him. By ‘other music’, I mean the music he composed for other instruments as well. Most of Albeniz’s music played on the guitar was originally composed for the piano since Albeniz himself was a pianist. He was strongly influenced by traditional Spanish music and a lot of his works are indicative of that.
Please listen to this wonderful rendition of his ‘Mallorca’ played on the piano vis-a-vis played on the guitar.
Guitar rendition by John Williams
Notice the differences in the renditions, and while listening, remember that the piece was originally written for the piano!
To enrich our understanding of various orchestral colours and timbres and interpretative possibilities of the music that we play on the guitar, it is imperative that we listen to the composer’s works written for various instruments and orchestra.
Enjoy and let’s continue this discussion!
Winners of the IGF 2015 Competitions!
Delhi International Classical Guitar Festival and Competition 2015
1st Prize: Ungrumso Raman
2nd Prize: Atso Chasie
Komrisk most promising guitarist under 18: (no 1st prize)
2nd Prize: Eshita & Jonty
Bangalore International Classical Guitar Festival and Competition 2015
1st Prize: Kabir Dabholkar
2nd Prize: Nandini Sudhir
Komrisk most promising guitarist under 18: Chanakya Saikya
Calcutta International Classical Guitar Festival and Competition 2015
1st Prize: Rupkatha Das
2nd Prize: Ajoy Thatal
Komrisk most promising guitarist under 18: Anubhav Dasgupta
CCGS Under 12 prize: Yash Vachhani
IGF Festivals 2015: Featured Artistes
We’ve invited the best classical guitar acts from across Asia to participate. Each city will have 8 concerts spanning over 4 days.
In the build up to the big event, we’re announcing their attendance on one at a time.
Click on the photos for a full artiste profile.
India & Philippines
Rupert Boyd’s tour of India
Rupert Boyd is on a whirlwind tour of India this October. From the 13th till the 17th he’ll be travelling from Kolkata to Chennai via Goa and Bangalore. Here’s an exclusive interview and feature with the Australian guitarist before it all begins
How did the journey with classical guitar begin for you? For most of us in India, classical guitar is not our first choice of instrument. We either start out by playing chords to the songs we like and discover the instrument by chance, and then look for a way to learn. How did your relationship with the instrument start and then grow?
My journey with the classical guitar began when I was 8 years old. While I was in primary school I was taking general music classes taught by teachers from the local School of Music in Canberra, Australia. One day they asked me if I would like to play an instrument, and that very same day my brother came home from high school playing a brand new guitar. I went back to my music teachers the following day and told them that I wanted to play guitar. While I still practice a good 4 to 5 hours a day, my brother gave up after just a few weeks. From my very first lesson I was playing classical guitar, and feel very fortunate to have had great teachers from the beginning. While in high school I got quite heavily into popular music, and for a few years played a lot of electric guitar, trying to imitate the great Jimi Hendrix, and this only increased my love of all styles of music. Nowadays I only perform classical music, but do still enjoy playing some songs by groups like The Beatles, etc. in my spare time.
Who are your musical influences?
I have taken musical inspiration from a lot of sources. I am a big fan of a number of classic rock and roll stars like The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan, etc.. Then western classical composers like J.S. Bach, Brahms, Granados, Manuel de Falla, Leo Brouwer, Philip Glass, etc. are all composers whose music influences me on a daily basis. In terms of classical guitar, I am a huge fan of Julian Bream’s recordings, and feel that as classical guitarists we owe a large debt to Andres Segovia. For me personally too, my teacher in Australia Timothy Kain (who recorded the album Mantis and the Moon with John Williams for the Sony label) has been one of my main influences. I began taking guitar lessons with him while in the last two years of high school, and then continued studying with him for a four year Bachelor of Music degree. Tim Kain had a most profound influence on my guitar playing and approach to music, and I feel lucky to be able to consider him to this day a mentor and close personal friend.
Do you do anything actively to grow as a musician? As guitarists, how do you recommend we develop our musicality?
I think one of the best ways to develop as a musician is to try to play as much chamber music as possible with other musicians, especially those who are not guitarists. As guitarists we practice and perform alone so much of the time, and it’s a wonderful experience to collaborate with fellow musicians. When working with musicians who are not guitarists, we can have our eyes (and ears!) opened to musical ideas that are beyond the technical limitations of our instruments. All musicians have to surmount the technical difficulties posed by their respective instruments, and working with other musicians can put into focus the goals and ideals of music making. I also find it useful to get feedback from musicians other than guitarists, as they can really focus on the music rather than the technique involved.
I also think it very important to listen to as much music, of all different styles, as one can. At its core music is about expressing something – beauty, emotions, experiences, and to listen to the way this can be expressed through various different genres and different instruments is fascinating and informative.
People living in this day and age are so fortunate to be able to experience at one’s fingertips an entire century of recorded music, and to be able to find online tutorials and reference materials for a vast multitude of topics. This allows people throughout the world to be immersed in any form of music that they like, and really opens all of our horizons to culture and art from around the world.
What makes for a good classical guitar programme? When programming a concert is there anything you keep in mind?
I personally really like to programme a concert that has a good variety of repertoire. As classical guitarists we are so lucky to be able to play music from the renaissance through to modern day, and from all around the world. In my concerts on this Indian tour I will be playing a work by the Renaissance lutenist John Dowland, through to contemporary compositions by the Australian composer Phillip Houghton, and works from Scotland, Ireland and Spain, to Hawaii, Argentina and Brazil. Some of the pieces will be known to classical music audiences, while others are more obscure, and with such variety every audience member will have their favourite pieces, and on the off-chance that they don’t like a certain piece, they can rest assured the following piece will be quite different.
And as the artiste, what makes for a successful concert performance?
I find it so interesting how every concert that I play is different. Even when playing the same programme several nights in a row, each concert is a unique experience. The atmosphere and acoustics of a concert venue can make a large difference, but also at least as important is the audience. I don’t know that audiences realise how much impact they can have upon the performer, but with a live concert experience it is always an interplay between audience and performer. The energy that the audience brings can have such a large impact on the energy levels of the performer, and the absolute best experiences that I have had as either a performer or audience member, are when one can feel that collective experience of a group of people all focussed together in the moment witnessing a work of art.
Obviously too what makes for a successful concert performance is the preparation, whether that be the months of study and practice on the pieces being performed, through to the preparation on the day of the concert including whether we got enough sleep the night before, to what we had to eat on the day of the concert, and for us as classical guitarists we are uniquely influenced by the shape and length of our fingernails. A lot of these things we can prepare as well as we can, then there are a number of other factors which are beyond our control no matter how much we prepare, and which we have to accept and deal with as best we can.
What are you expecting from your tour in India?
While I have never performed in India before, about three years ago I spent a month traveling the country, which has been one of the few times in my life that I have travelled purely for tourism and enjoyment. I found India an enthralling and exciting place, and am very much looking forward to returning. I am expecting it to be an interesting time, with a few adventures along the way, though with 5 concerts in 4 different cities, in just 6 days, I feel that there won’t be much spare time for anything but playing and preparing for the concerts, and getting from one place to the next.
Australian guitarist Rupert Boyd is acclaimed as one of the most talented guitarists of his generation. He has been described by The Washington Post as “truly evocative”, and by Classical Guitar Magazine as “a player who deserves to be heard.” He has performed across four continents, from New York’s Carnegie Hall, to festivals in Europe, China, the Philippines and Australia. His solo CD Valses Poéticos received the following review in Soundboard, the quarterly publication of Guitar Foundation of America: “Boyd’s playing is beautifully refined, with gorgeous tone… musically and technically flawless… [the Granados is] one of the best recorded performances of this work on guitar.”
The concert tour
Kolkata – in association with the Calcutta Classical Guitar Society
Masterclass: Space Music School, C521 Lake Gardens, Jodhpur Gardens, Lake Gardens, Kolkata
Concert: Kolkata Alliance Francaise du Bengale, 7.30pm
57A Park Street, Park Mansions Gate 3, Flat 15,
Opposite Fluyrs, Kolkata, West Bengal 700016
Goa – Art Chamber, 7:30pm
Castelo Vermelho 115a
Gauravaddo, Calangute, Goa
Goa – Menezes Braganza Hall, 7pm
Presented by Pro Musica.
Bangalore – Alliance Francaise, Bangalore; 7:30pm
Presented by The Bangalore School of Music.
The Concert Programme
Kinkachoo, I Love You
from “God of the Northern Forest”
Phillip Houghton (b. 1954)
4 Celtic Songs
– Loch Leven Castle
– Skye Boat Song
– Cherish the Ladies
– Neil Gow’s Lament
Traditional (arr. David Russell)
Fantasy on a Hawaiian Lullaby
Byron Yasui (b. 1940)
Prélude op. 13
A. Fornerod (1890-1965)
Étude No. 9: Tres Peu Anime
H. Villa-Lobos (1887-1959)
Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992) (arr. S. Assad)
John Dowland (1563-1626)
Fantasy in A minor, op. 19
Luigi Legnani (1790-1877)
– De el “Homenaje a Falla”
– De unfragmento instrumental
– Sobre un canto de Bulgaria
Leo Brouwer (b. 1939)
Pantomima (arr. R. Boyd)
The Miller’s Dance (arr. T. Kain)
Manuel de Falla (1876-1946)
Fantasia on La Traviata
Francisco Tárrega (1852-1909)
World Music Day in Kolkata
This 21st of June, the Live In Series hosted a very special evening. Arko Mukharjee and Saurav Moni collaborated to create a new sound.
Arko Mukhaerjee has been formally trained in Indian classical music, but is equally versatile with Western and Indian folk songs, blues, soul and tribal music styles. Arko has collaborated with music projects in France, England, Germany and played at several festivals in Europe. He’s also a playback singer, nominated for national awards.
Saurav Moni comes from a village in the Sundarbans near the Bangladesh border. His music comes from the songs of boatmen, peasants and wandering minstrels of the two Bengals – West Bengal and Bangladesh.
This collaboration has Arko Mukhaerjee and Saurav Moni featuring classical guitaristTheophilus Benjamin, Rajkumar Sengupta and Ritoban Das (Ludo) at the Kalikapur Community Centre.
About the Calcutta Classical Guitar Society
Founded in 2009, the Calcutta Classical Guitar Society is a membership-based, not-for-profit society registered under the laws of West Bengal, India, dedicated to promoting the interests and aspirations of classical guitar professionals, students, teachers and guitar-music lovers of India.
In 2010 the Society hosted the first Calcutta International Classical Guitar Festival & Competition ‘Nikita Koshkin’. This was the first time in India that internationally acclaimed class guitar maestros from 16 countries performed and taught participants from over 25 countries. Each year since, CCGS has hosted an international festival and competition in December putting Calcutta on the global map for classical guitar.
Buoyed by this success, the Calcutta Classical Guitar Society widened its role and has become an active promoter of many genres of music. The Society is trying to bring live music to people at all levels of society through series of concerts in diverse environments and the pioneering work of the Society is reflected in Live In Concert, Live In India, Live In School, Live In Park and Live In Youth.
The Society has also been active in bringing international level classical guitar training to India. They hosted the Johannes Möller Guitar Camp 2011 in March 2011 and the Summer Academy 2012 with Denis Azabagic and Eugenia Moliner in July 2012.