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ClassicsOnline Home » SHANKAR, R.: Symphony (Shankar, London Philharmonic, Murphy)
Neither Apples Nor Oranges
There have been many attempts at blending diverse musical forms with western classical music; the results have usually been mixed and have nearly always required a very loose interpretation of definitions (like, rock “opera”.) This work, supposedly based on the classical symphonic structure, uses several Indian ragas’ rhythmic cycles and their varying musical scales to suggest differing movements and aims, according to the liner notes, at "the development of a new ‘Indo-Classical’ musical genre". As ambitious and well intentioned as this goal may be, the result here is, at best, only partially successful. Mostly the effect is like oil and water, with both European and Indian musical traditions sitting uneasily alongside one another. Given the improvisatory nature of Indian classical music and the almost purely interpretive nature of its European counterpart, this should come as no real surprise.
There are moments of real interest generated by the orchestra’s rhythm section and, especially, by the inspired improvisations of sitarist Anoushka Shankar, the composer’s daughter. Sadly, these moments are too often held together by orchestral music that might charitably be described as incidental, in the cinematic sense. In any case, Ravi Shankar's Symphony is an interesting attempt at blending two distinct, highly evolved musical cultures with differing, sometimes diametrically opposing aesthetic priorities and goals. The result is neither apples nor oranges.
Recommended 7 out of 10
- Oscar O. Veteranomore....
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