SIMPLY BEING | SIMPLE BEING

Two genres…

I haven’t heard a lot of Western classical music save a couple of tracks by Beethoven and Mozart. That was a few years back. Back then, I remember being struck by the magnificence of the music. It felt grand, larger than life, truly magnificent. The music had an air of celebration about it, it resounded in my ears and it felt like a true achievement of man that he could create something so spectacular. At that point, I was also learning Carnatic classical music and attending a whole lot of classical concerts. We used to make it to nearly every concert as was humanly possible. Hari Prasad Chaurasia and Shiv Kumar Sharma … every year. Kishori Amonkar, U Srinivas, L Subramanian, L Shankar, so many more. I briefly wondered what was it that differentiated these two genres of music. I think it is the element of bhakti. Please correct me, Western classical music afficianados if I am wrong… Indian classical music has such a strong element of devotion in it. Every composition that I learnt was in adoration of the Divine, call Him Rama, Krishna, Jagadaananda, what have you. Most of the famous composers in South India have been intensely spiritual people be it Thyagaraaja or Purandaradaasa or Muthuswamy Dikshitar. I recently attended a performance by Pt. Shiv Kumar Sharma. Before the concert began, he announced the raaga that he was going to play and mentioned, ‘…once I start playing, I have no idea what evolves out of my instrument. It is totally out of my hands’ or something along those lines. I feel the same: some days, I can hardly believe the sounds emanating out of my violin. It is certainly not my doing. Someone somewhere coaxes those notes out of my strings and I am so happy just to witness this miracle…