Ravi Shankar Tribute at ENCOUNTERS: INDIA

Last Wednesday (12 Dec), as I was driving from Canberra back up to Brisbane, I listened to CDs of some of the music that we’re planning to present in ENCOUNTERS: INDIA next May (Brisbane, 9-19 May 2013). One of the CDs was a selection of pieces for flute and harp, with that masterly Australian duo Geoffrey Collins (flute) and Alice Giles (harp). Their recital was recorded in Sydney in January 1993 (twenty years ago!) and released by Belinda Webster on her Tall Poppies label (TP 031).

The opening track is a lovely 13 minute piece called L’aube enchantee (The Enchanted Dawn) sur le RagaTodi’, a 1986 composition by none other than Ravi Shankar himself. Now, many musicians have serious reservations about his three Sitar Concertos, but here is a little gem of a piece which beckons familiarity and repeated listenings. Totally charmed by the piece, I told myself that we must find a way to perform it during ENCOUNTERS.

It must have been around that same time that news of the death of the 92-year-old master musician reached us.

I’m thinking we should also examine his legacy – particularly as it relates to the greater appreciation of Indian classical music in the West (The Beatles notwithstanding) – as part of our ENCOUNTERS Symposium. I’d be keen to hear what you think.