It is said that music is such an art form which is complete art form. As I have mentioned few times on the blog, I like to experiment listening various genres of music. I also like to study musicological aspects, comparative music. I have not shied away from lending ear to western classical music as well. I have had many instances in the past.
Western music, including classical music, has been adopted by Bollywood and Indian film industry, for so many years, that it no more foreign to us. It is coincident that I am writing about it today, and tomorrow, R D Burman’s(one of the first exponents of western music for Hindi movie music) death anniversary is being celebrated by PanchamMagic.
Many of us might find it very surprising to know that western classical music has been taking place in the orthodox and traditional city like Pune for a quite a few years now. To me it was not so surprising, when I found about Poona Music Society few years ago. Pune, as you know has been, major army base since British Raj time, especially, area now referred as Pune Camp is home for people with Christianity background, Parsi community(Persian). Few decades ago, Pune also started seeing arrival of westerners and living here, when industrial growth started happening. Poona Music Society itself was founded almost 40 years back. German language studies(Max Muller Bhavan, Goethe Institute ) and French language(Alliance Francaise de Pune) tradition is also many many year older in Pune. These expatriates are major supporters of any western music(may it be classical, or modern/contemporary). There is even Jazz music club in Pune called Pune Jazz Club and Pune Jazz and Blues Club. And as far as western music training in Pune is concerned, Institute of Modern Music founded by Suhaschandra Kulkarni is around now for more than 40 years.
I remember the first event I attended at Mazda Hall was in Mar 2010 when they were having opera-play Undoing of Woman. I also had opportunity to attend church choir by Poona Musicale at St Mary’s Church. It was titled Canticle of Joy, that featured group of cello players, among others. During my visit to Philadelphia in the USA in Feb 2014, I had visited The Barnes Foundation where they were having an event title The Taste of Opera. It had selections of opera Ainadamar which tells story of Spanish playwright Lorca. Many of us also might remember celebrated conductor of Indian origin Zubin Mehta’s Sept 2013 concert in Mughal Gardens in Kashmir which was telecast live.
I wanted to write about experience I went through yesterday(Jan 2, 2016) at Poona Music Society organized event at Mazda Hall in Pune. This was my second visit to Mazda Hall. This event was called Opus Gala-a collaboration between artists from Goa and Deutscher Musikrat Competition winners. This chamber music concert was display of few unique musical instruments such as oboe, bassoon, horn. The other usual instruments such as piano, violin were also there. The concert also had vocal rendition also. I, of course, don’t understand the technical details and intricacies of this music, but it was a very unique experience. The environment inside the chamber, the dress code of all the musicians(which is all black heavy), Goan singer who was wearing a sari, rendering vocal piece and that big black colored piano on the stage, inside fully wooden chambered Mazda Hall.
I continue to look forward for opportunities to enjoy live concerts whenever possible, but my wish is to attend attend one of the full length soap operas in those famous theaters either in the Europe or USA next time when I visit. I also hope that we see western classical music appreciation workshops are held in the city to increase awareness.