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A final flourish

N.M.
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REVIEW The final concert of Odyssey 2012 was oddly subdued

Some warm tunesSilver jubilee of The Bangalore School of MusicPhoto: Murali Kumar K.
Some warm tunesSilver jubilee of The Bangalore School of MusicPhoto: Murali Kumar K.

Ayear full of festivities came to a close recently at the Ravindra Kalakshetra when the Bangalore School of Music closed its silver jubilee year with a ‘gala’ concert.

This year has been the 25th year of the School, and the city has been treated to several interesting musicians from various countries. The finale concert, which was inaugurated by Girish Karnad, saw the School promoting its own talent.

“This was a risky experiment in art and finance,” said Karnad, after lighting the lamp. He noted that the “capacity for music” - irrespective of whether it was Western or Indian or any other form - was a universally human trait.

In celebration and congratulating the School, Karnad also quipped that he was “jealous” of the students - for the opportunities they had to understand Western music. When he was younger, he would try to listen to Mozart’s 40th symphony and Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony, but they would make no sense; once, he accidentally heard some Bach, and this gave him an insight into Western classical music, he said.

“I still don’t understand opera,” he admitted.

The concert began with a rousing rendition of ‘Asatoma Sadgamaya’ by the School’s choir, conducted by Victor Thomas Abraham. They also performed ‘May You Always Walk On Sunshine’, a beautiful, warm tune with uneven pace that was executed perfectly.

Through the rest of the evening, all the other ensembles of the School came out to perform. The seven-keyboard orchestra played; the classical guitar orchestra, with 16 guitarists, presented a few short Spanish folk songs; the “8 hands 2 grands” setup, with four pianists on two grand pianos, played as well. Here, they didn’t play on grand pianos - due to logistics, perhaps - but on two smaller electronic pianos.

The Young Maestro’s Quartet’s rendition of ‘Sir Duke’ was one of the relative high points of the evening. The BSM Chamber Orchestra, which was reserved for the finale and appeared to be playing with a guest conductor, performed a pleasant version of Vivaldi’s D Major Concerto.

Perhaps it was the different acoustics at the Ravindra Kalakshetra, but there was a lack of power in the performances overall; there were also plenty of glitches and loose ends. It had more of the atmosphere of a school annual day celebration (which it perhaps was, to be fair).

N.M.

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