April , 2023
Rewarding evening of occidental music
10:32 am

Anit Mukerjea

Occidental music is a rarity these days. Therefore, it comes as a boon that the Mathieson Music Trust India presented Indian cello legend and maestro Anup Kumar Biswas’s inaugural concert by the Bengal Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir along with eminent British composer and conductor Andrew Campling and the celebrated British sitarist Jonathan Mayer at the Kala Mandir auditorium recently.

The principal soloists of the evening, Anup Kumar Biswas, the Calcutta born Bengali cellist had given wide ranging music concerts in Great Britain at such prestigious venues as the Royal Albert Hall, St James’ Palace, Lambeth Palace, and Queen Elizabeth Hall among others. Andrew Campling, a senior conductor, is a member of the Ivor Academy of Composers. His music was featured on BBC and has composed three symphonies and nine concertos. His work premiered at St Paul’s Covent Garden, London. Sitar soloist of repute Jonathan Mayer is the son of the late Kolkata based composer John Mayer from whom he learnt the ropes of composition and has created music extensively for many genres including jazz, fusion, Indian and symphonic music performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra and promoting his father’s Indo Jazz fusions.

The curtains were raised with William Boyce who knew Handel, JC Bach, and Mozart and was highly revered for his work as composer. The ensemble members of the Bengal Philharmonic Orchestra comprised 26 active musicians in the category of first violin, second violin, viola, cello, double bass, piano and harpsichord, oboe, flute, tabla and percussion. The apparent influence of his more famous peers was evident in Boyce’s three movements Allegro, Moderato e dolce and Allegro. The Bengal Philharmonic Orchestra premier concert kickstarted with a rather lackluster Allegro but eventually gathered momentum in its vibrancy of the other two movements.

It was in the Water Music of George Frederic Handel that the orchestra picked up pace and harmony. Handel once represented the Baroque gharana with his concertos, operas, and oratorios. The three movements, Andante Air Bourree, had an edge over the earlier orchestration with the easy flow of dialogue exchanges between the instruments, having a more harmonic fluidity. The first half of the musical soiree concluded with Joseph Haydn’s Concerto for Cello in C major in three movements Allegro Adagio Allegro. Haydn, being the leading German composer of the classical period, was dubbed as the father of symphony and father of the string quartet.

Lead Cellist Anup Biswas was of course more seasoned, making a show of his more mellowed bowing technique with occasional application of the pizzicato lending a sensitivity to the baser notes. The British conductor Andrew Campling seemed to cope well in coordinating the lead solo instruments with the orchestra conjuring up the desired musical pace and ambience both in volume and harmony. The younger instrumentalists of the orchestra require to hone their raw skills for a more mellowed and professional rendition, assimilating the subtler nuances of the original composition.

After the interval, Andrew Campling’s Concerto for cello, sitar and orchestra introduced the fusion element in such movements as Ma Ganga, Akash, Himalaya, Saraswati and Utsava. It was here that the British sitarist Jonathan Mayer predominated with the desired dexterity of his fingers in his racy lyrical rendition embellishing his recital with the treasure trove of rich melody that reached out to his captive audience. 

Add new comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.