|The Ensemble Modern and stars of classical Indian music present the results of their very first collaboration: compositions rooted in Indian tradition yet using the language of the avantgarde. The project's artistic director is the composer Sandeep Bhagwati.
The dossier offers a glimpse of ideas behind the project as well as some insight into the results of two years of intensive co-operation between Indian musicians and the Ensemble Modern.
The following pages include an extensive interview with the artistic director of the project, Sandeep Bhagwati, a portrait of the Ensemble Modern, a travelogue written by Wolfgang Styri (Ensemble Modern) after taking part in a workshop in Bombay/Mumbai with the Indian musicians, a text by the composer and music ethnologist Ashok Ranade about the relationship between tradition and renewal in Indian art music and also portraits of musicians and composers. Samples of music written mainly for 'Rasalîla', together with explanations from the composers, give a foretaste of concerts in the House of World Cultures. A short video gives an impression of the musicians' procedure in working during a joint workshop in Bombay/Mumbai.
|Rasalîla presents the Ensemble Modern and stars of classical Indian music performing, for the first time, the results of their collaboration: compositions rooted in the Indian tradition and its language, yet with clear traces of avant-gardes influence. The artistic director of this project is Sandeep Bhagwati, a composer working in Europe.
Indian classical music is regarded as the only tradition of classical music that, even today, is still evolving quite independently of western musical concepts. Now, inspired by the intensive workshops Sandeep Bhagwati has been running for nearly two years, renowned Indian musicians have composed a series of pieces for the Ensemble Modern, one of the best-known ensembles for Contemporary Music. In a complementary move, Indian composers familiar with western Contemporary Music have also written works specifically for Rasalîla. Among these is Bhagwati's latest commissioned work for the Ensemble Modern, entitled Rasas, scheduled to be performed at the concerts on 1 and 2 November 2003 in the House of World Cultures.
Traditionally, Indian music consists of Ragas, where a basic mood, a Rasa, is expressed via a sequence of notes with frameworks for improvisation and composition. Rasas form the basic emotional elements of all Indian music and every traditional Indian musician learns to reproduce precisely the aura around each individual Rasa. The project's compositions all react to the complex emotional state of the world today, in bringing entirely new elements into Indian classical music, in emphasizing deliberate pauses or multi-voiced textures instead of Ragas, in exploring the interplay of colour between instrumental and vocal sounds, or in introducing abrupt changes in rhythm. The project's title represents the contradictory interplay and fracturing of all Rasas, and, according to Sandeep Bhagwati "... just as the Indian word Lîla says, the 'free play' of the elements first shows us the shadows and colours of the real world." In this sense, Rasalîla could be said to mean "The Play of Emotions".
The concerts are taking place as part of a programme including films, radio plays, a sound installation and a symposium ? three days where previously unknown facets of Indian classical music can be experienced.