Those willing to surrender to the music

New Delhi (IANSlife) The last time I heard Beethoven’s “Pastoral” Symphony and exchanged notes with my fellow concertgoer after the encore, I remember being intrigued by how the thunderstorm in the fourth movement had evoked utterly disparate emotions in us, sitting inches away from each other. For her, the timpani, trombones and strings had harmonised to yield catharsis for a stormy phase of life. To my ears, it brought the promise of rain on a very sultry June evening. That’s music. It moves people differently. But move, it does.

The “Pastoral”, Mendelssohn’s “Italian”, Saint-Saens’s “Organ Symphony” and Brahms’s Symphony No. 2 will all be played during the SOI Spring 2024 Season. Some of these belong to what’s called programme music while Brahms’s composition falls under absolute music. The former denotes music intended to evoke images, the latter, not so much. Do such categories, however, make any difference to the experience of a listener? Musicologist Suddhaseel Sen discusses this in the cover story of the February issue.

Sufi music, on the other hand, is meant to bridge the gap between mortals and the divine. The poetry, ghazals or Sufiana kalam of bards, minstrels and mystics is associated with an all-surrendering quality so pure, it breaks down the barriers that hold one back. The three-day festival of Sama’a holds that promise for those willing to surrender to the music.

For Russian-born American vocalist and trumpeter Ilya Serov, the segue into jazz from his formal education in classical music at St. Petersburg Conservatory was a natural move because music needs no labels. For his first time in India, he brings contemporary takes on jazz classics and some original compositions too.

Reimaging traditional movement to explore possibilities in the realm of dance encapsulates the spirit of Spectrum, the NCPA’s festival of dances from around India and the world. From a celebration of Lata Mangeshkar’s unforgettable melodies to aspects of human existence told in contemporary language, the line-up lives up to the title of the festival.

“We have all the time we’ve always had,” says Marriane to Roland in Nick Payne’s play, Constellations. The NCPA production, which returns to the Experimental Theatre with a new cast, brings the idea of the multiverse to the stage. Quantum mechanics is integral to the script but only to grapple with the enigma of human existence. In an ensemble of parallel universes, time acquires a new meaning. What if we indeed had all the time we’ve always had?

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