Kailash Ensemble’s recital was an alluring display of Indian and Western classical music that did not erase the identity of either stream.
Three cellists, an Indian violin and tabla formed the Kailash Ensemble from Holland that treated music lovers of Thrissur to an interesting mélange of classical Indian and western music. Master cellist Marien van Staalen was the first cellist of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and a renowned conductor. The other cellists Sanne van der Horst and Marinke visser are his disciples. His daughter Lenneke van Staalen has pursued Indian music since 1992 and trained under Pundit D.K. Datar. Tabla player Heiko Dijkerhas been a disciple of Faiyaz Khan over the last two decades. The five-member team is engaged in propagating the two genres of world music the world over.
The one-hour performance was not an attempt at fusion but an exposition of the identity of Indian and western music on the same platform.
The concert opened with a composition of the Hungarian composer Zoltan Kodaly. It was a folk melody that was noted for the melancholic strains that Marien bowed out as bass notes in extremely slow tempo. Occasional plucking of the string with his fore-finger served to embellish the rendition. As the melodic form of the composition was established by him, the sruti box was switched on and Lenneke chipped in with melodious notes of raga Malkauns. The advent of the raga totally changed the ambience of the performance into an Indian one as Heiko also joined her with his gentle strokes on the tabla. It was interesting to see how the sruti box was switched off when Marien took over to play the rest of the composition.
In sharp contrast to the first number, the team took up J.S. Bach’s “ lhr werdat weinen und heulen’, a cantata composed in 1725. While Marinke played the bass part, Sanne moved in the middle register and the upper parts were played by Marien himself. Originally composed for voices, the number showcased the intrinsic traits of harmony characteristic of western classical music through variegated movements. Again, Lenneke entered with raga Bhupali accompanied by Heiko in seven-beat cycles for some time. The denouement was alluring on account of the undulatory notes played by the cellists in unison.
The Ensemble included 11-year-old Milan Manoj who had stood first in the national piano competitions held in Pune.
The Kailash Ensemble concluded the recital with the composition ‘Raga’, specially composed for them by Dutch composer Jacob ter Veldhuis. While the cellists began in a very slow tempo creating a meditative mood, Lenneke joined them with raga Yaman. This was the only piece that was an attempt at fusion. Also, the cellists took care not to harmonise the raga part but accompanied the violinist in long bows. The recital slowly gathered tempo and ended in a rhythmic crescendo.
The concert was part of the sixth national music festival organised by PIANO in memory of the late musician Philip V. Francis.